CAKE – Showroom Of Compassion
2011, Upbeat Records
CAKE has always marched to the beat of their own drummer (both figuratively and literally). Formed in 1991 in a sort of musical counter-revolution to the grunge movement, CAKE’s distinctive sound garnered them significant radio airplay during the 1990’s, and a loyal following that continues to this day. On the cusp of their 20th anniversary as a band, CAKE returns today with their sixth album, Showroom Of Compassion.
CAKE kicks things off with a political edge on “Federal Funding”, decrying a culture where the politically connected take care of their own with wasteful spending. “Long Time” is a relationship dissection that looks back on the decline of emotional contact with an almost academic air. “Got To Move” and “What’s Now Is Now” both feel a bit bland, but Cake recovers nicely with the catchy, alt-pop feel of “Mustache Man (Wasted)”. “Teenage Pregnancy” opens with a Beethoven-esque piano intro before morphing into a dark and conflicted slow rocker that’s highly intriguing. “Sick Of You” has all the pizzazz and pop of CAKE’s early work. “Easy To Crash” finds CAKE getting stuck in a bit of a rut, but “Bound Away” is a solid album track, and “The Winter” is among the band’s most subtle works to date. “The Winter” is all about taking the next step after heartbreak; a ballad for moving on. “Italian Guy” sounds a bit like something They Might Be Giants might come out with, and the opening lines of the melody sound a bit like a coffee commercial.
CAKE continues to turn expectations upside down with Showroom Of Compassion. The high energy of their early works has given way to a slightly more measured approach to songwriting, but the acerbic wit and musical elements that made CAKE alt-rock radio staples in the mid-1990’s are still there. Overall, Showroom Of Compassion won’t be remembered as their most exciting work, but CAKE delivers a sort of quiet, consistent brand of alt-pop that should appeal to long-time fans and not too few new ones.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)Learn more about CAKE at http://www.cakemusic.com/ or www.myspace.com/cake. Showroom Of Compassion is available from Amazon.com as a CD, 180 Gram Red Vinyl LP or Download. The album is also available via iTunes.