The Sea and Cake
It takes almost three minutes of the opening track, “Four Corners,” for the dreamy voice of singer Sam Prekop to come in. Until then, this Chicago-based “post-rock” ensemble’s forward propulsion of hyperactive machine-tooled rhythms, peripatetic bass, chiming guitar and clarion-calling synths sounds like a perfect soundtrack to launch a new high-line German sedan: Jawohl! Ve are now schussing through ze esses! Prekop’s voice floats cloudlike over the instrumental bed, which is closer to North American techno-tropicalia than Midwestern meat and potatoes. Or, in DaimlerChrysler terms, it’s more E-class Mercedes than Dodge Polara. Highlights include the refined funk of “Shoulder Length,” the lovely synth fanfare that closes the title track, and a top-notch cover of David Bowie’s “Sound and Vision.” Whether you find this invigorating or boring depends upon your attitude toward industrial design.