Cake. A band everyone has heard, and most don’t even know it. They have been around since 1991, and have been recording hits and impressing audiences with their unique style of music that really defies classification. Their second album, Fashion Nugget, hit big in 1996 with the song “The Distance”. Since then, they have had great success, lending their songs to multiple movies and TV shows, while still releasing great album after album. The last CD released in 2004, Pressure Chief, was met with moderate reviews, and left most Cake fans wanting a little more of their favorite style from the previous records. The band released an album called B-Sides and Rarities in 2007, and this left everyone hoping they would put together something phenomenal.
Showroom of Compassion came out to a number one spot on the Billboard Album charts, and this boded well for the band. In listening to this CD, it opens up with “Federal Funding”, and you notice something different. There is an abundance of sound compared to previous albums. This would normally be a good sign, but not with Cake. One of the massive charms of the band’s sound was the basic layers they placed on albums and in live shows. The message of their music was not in producing a full sound or having a lot of countermelodies going on, it was in the sweet dissonance of simplicity. In the sounds not heard. The lyrics were not muddled down by the music. The words were almost like an inspiration for the chords that played behind them. It seems like this album was less about that true form that Cake created back in the 1990s and more about making something more in line with actual music, which is not what made them popular. The songs are truly Cake, but just slightly different, with synthesizer enhancing, multiple instrumental inserts, and a ton of back up vocals and reverb. Songs like “Got To Move”, “What’s Now Is Now”, and even the instrumental, “Teenage Pregnancy” all seem strangely depressing for this band. They have always been cynical in their music, but this album is all about the bad, with no mention of anything good on it.
Overall, if you have to have every Cake CD, pick it up. Otherwise, it probably should not grace your collection. Cake has done so much through the decades without becoming complex, and this album does not hold true against those decades of work. The only slight shine would be their first released single, “Sick of You”. This song sounds more like Cake than anything on the album.
Showroom of Compassion on [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/sick-of-you/id398501674?uo=4" title="Cake-Showroom_of_Compassion_(Album)" text="iTunes"]
Written by Josh McRae
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