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The Sea and Cake - One Bedroom

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Artist: The Sea and Cake

Album: One Bedroom

Label: Thrill Jockey

Review date: Feb. 10, 2003

Tighter Than Both Olsen Twins

The Fawn is still the swankest Sea And Cake record on the racks, so nuts to you "old school" college radio jackoffs who won't stand for anything that came out after The Biz. Repetitive, you say? More mechanical than human? A little bit dumb? Yes. Also, the perfect soundtrack for a breezy early afternoon fuck. The Fawn comes from a cool, warm place.

So, One Bedroom ain't as swank as The Fawn. It ain't even as fine as breathy, incomprehensible frontman Sam Prekop's solo record. But it might be "better" than either. That is, it might be more solid. For One Bedroom is the LP on which The Sea And Cake jettisons most of its jazzbo pretensions long enough to finish the pure, catchy, consistent pop-funk record it's always been capable of.

It's a pleasure doing business with One Bedroom.

"Left Side Clouded" is a creamy li'l nougat of anglophilic pop that should please those who - with varying degrees of guilt - enjoy spinning guitarist / pianist Archer Prewitt's solo shit more than any of the other Sea And Cake related discs.

You'll notice the quicker tempos. It almost sounds like the S&C said "fuck it" and made a goddamn dance record. "Hotel Tell" shimmers and wanks just enough to remind you who these people are, but "Le Baron" and "Shoulder Length" ride grooves worthy of Prince.

As One Bedroom winds down, it hits silkier terrain. "Interiors" sounds like the sequel to "Nothing Compares 2 U" in which our wayward lovers reunite, and "Try Nothing" sounds like... fuck that, "Try Nothing" IS bossa nova. And we close with a poker-faced rendition of Bowie's "Sound & Vision."

One of the worst things we inherited from our parents' generation was an inclination to take music far too seriously. (I'm talking to you, you and you.) Certain purveyors of fluff appeal more to that sensibility than others. The Sea And Cake now make no acknowledgment of that sensibility - One Bedroom is no more or less glossy, inventive or dumb than any number of great pop/funk records you'll never hear out of conscious avoidance. Whether or not you're going to hold the band's newfound professionalism against it is your own row to hoe, bro. But there's plenty here for those that can shut off the music overappreciation mechanism at will. Shutting off the music overappreciation mechanism will one day be as easy as admitting you'd rather curl up with Elmore Leonard than Pynchon. And when the record-as-product is replaced by a great, all-inclusive jukebox, you'll sell your Shrimp Boat vinyl for the nickels you'll pop into that baby for the songs from One Bedroom. One hopes.

In summary: One Bedroom is a tight, solid (though not particularly swank) pop / funk record that will only bother you if you ever took the whole "post-rock/literate jazz" scam seriously.

By Emerson Dameron

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