Release date: Jan. 11, 2011
Record label: Upbeat Records
Official website: http://www.cakemusic.com/
The buzz: Seven years after their last album of new material, 2004's "Pressure Chief," and nearly 20 years into their career, the members of iconoclastic alt-rock outfit Cake are back with "Showroom of Compassion," which they are releasing on their own Upbeat Records.
The verdict: Six albums in, Cake prove on "Showroom of Compassion" that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. While everything most listeners love about Cake is on display here—crunchy and quirky riffs, blaring trumpet and a healthy amount of speak-singing from frontman John McCrea can all be found in the first track, "Federal Funding''—this is also possibly the most melodic and downright sing-able album the band has ever put out. "Showroom" comes into its own on its second song, "Long Time," a knockout number awash in harmonies and featuring an extremely rocking coda. Elsewhere, the band busts out a convincing Beatles-esque riff on "Mustache Man (Wasted)," dabbles in piano-based pop ("The Winter") and gives fans another of its typically strong country numbers, "Bound Away." With "Showroom," Cake serves up a balanced, rewarding and wholly successful return; hopefully they don't take as long with the next one.
Did you know? "Showroom of Compassion" was a DIY effort, with a major assist from mother nature: According to a press release, the album was recorded over the last two and a half years, produced and engineered by the band themselves at their own solar electric-powered studio in Sacramento, Calif.