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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

CAKE - Showroom Of Compassion

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 or Of Compassion is available from as a CD, 180 Gram Red Vinyl LP or Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.

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