Funky Sacramento band Cake is back with their first full-length since 2004. Titled “Showroom of Compassion”, this LP retains all of the things that made fans love Cake to begin with while adding new depth by using reverb and new recording techniques.
Even though the funk-driven tracks of the past few albums are well-written and fun, the band’s songs have long suffered from dated, un-timeless, 90s production values. This is probably because vocalist John McCrae, as he has stated in an interview, feels that certain bands use reverb on their recordings in a way he sees as “grandiose”.
The writing on Showroom is just as good as past efforts if not better but the studio recordings themselves sound more modern and maybe even more grown-up. Infectious basslines, the tell-tale vibraslap, and endearingly goofy synths still dominate the mix but on some tracks there are also more sobering and subtle instruments like pianos and acoustic guitars that are not plugged directly into a board.
The snarky “Federal Funding” is one of the album’s finest tracks; it allows the band to showcase their new comfort with reverb and spaciness. “Sick of you” is also well worth a listen. All in all, a fine effort and well worth your money.