Review: Cake, ‘Showroom of Compassion’

Review: Cake, ‘Showroom of Compassion’: Aidin Vaziri | Six long years may have passed since Cake put out an album of original material, but the Sacramento band’s fans have stayed faithful enough to warrant a four-night run at the Fillmore next month. While the band’s contemporary Beck has tried on several musical hats, Cake rewards its followers’ patience with a record that sticks tenaciously with formula – that easily identifiable mix of John McCrea’s deadpan spoken-word vocals, mariachi horns, off-kilter rhythms, Yardbirds-era riffs and unconstrained quirkiness. “Mustache Man (Wasted)” and “Long Time,” in particular, sound like carryovers from the group’s gainful mid-’90s period (even though neither quite measures up to “The Distance”). But evolution hasn’t eluded Cake completely. The brooding synth-pop ditty “Easy to Crash” and instrumental “Teenage Pregnancy” seem designed to offer some breathing room during the live set, while the opening protest song, “Federal Funding,” seems as if it were written exclusively for the NPR demographic. Of course, with a droll chorus that goes “Strategize the presentation/ Make them see that you’re the man,” you might get the sense that no time has passed at all.

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