by Robert Dean
*salty language ahead*
Can we take a break from political rants, vomiting platitudes about the Cubs in the World Series, or blaming one another for the state of affairs to take a moment to talk about a band? A band with a distinct sound and style, a band who doesn’t come off like anyone else, who writes records that are thick with the hits, and yet get none of the credit they deserve?
I know you’ve got a few in your head you can think of this description, and in some cases, I’m liable to agree. But, today, right now, we’re talking about Cake. Yes, that Cake. Cake are amazing. They’re this band that mixes a distinct vocal attack, that’s coupled with rockabilly guitars, Stax-heyday-brass, and a rhythm section that’s tighter than a popcorn fart.
But, you’re probably like, “so they wrote 'The Distance,' big fuckin’ deal. One hit wonders.” Ah, my friend, you are so wrong. Cake are like Radiohead, that if you’re not down with actual music, you likely aren’t paying attention to the string of hits they’ve had over their career. Cake manage to mix country, folk, blues, mariachi, hip-hop, and goddamn maracas and shit. They don’t sound like anyone, they move to their own sense of tonality and style and it’s sad they’re not viewed as a band at the pantheon of fandom and creativity, cuz no one sounds like Cake, and that’s a fact.
• Short skirt, long jacket?
• I Will Survive?
• War Pigs?
• Sheep Go To Heaven?
• Frank Sinatra?
• Love You Madly?
• Stickshifts and Safety Belts?
• Shadow Stabbing?
• Never There?
Cake managed to make "War Pigs" cool without playing the solo, and also managed to make a lame Gloria Gaynor disco tune relevant again because it was crafted with ingenious care. That’s what’s beautiful about Cake, they’re feel good music that encapsulates so much, and with such little effort because it’s just what they do.
If you can’t put on "Take It All Away" on after a breakup and not feel like you’re sailing alone on a sea of misery, you just ain’t human. That one hits home like a sledgehammer.
There’s more Waylon or George Jones here than any of these posers who cite the ole’ troubadours by name every chance they get; instead, Cake writes songs that offer real stories with humanity seeping out of the stitches. Do yourselves a favor give Cake a listen if they haven’t been on your radar in years, or you just never bothered to dig deep. These dudes are a buffet of sounds – they’ve got it all and fuck, all of it’s so good.