The Sea and Cake played at Cat’s Cradle last night to a modest crowd of loyal fans. The Chicago-based indie-rock group has made ten albums since the mid-1990s and performed with comfortable ease, despite a bassist fill-in for Eric Claridge. Their 2012 LP Runner evolved from guitarist/vocalist Sam Prekop’s experiments with synthesizer and sequencer sounds. Eventually the ideas developed into finished songs as the band members collectively rearranged and built upon the electronic foundations.
The electronic influence was evident in the beginning of the set in the starry synth base layer of “Harps.” The combination of Archer Prewitt’s soaring guitar notes, Prekop’s soft vocals, and a mid-tempo beat from John McEntire created a dreamy soundscape. Melancholy, relaxed vibes ruled much of the night with other new songs from Runner including “New Patterns” and “A Mere.”
Picking up the tempo with guitar-driven numbers such as “Pacific” energized the crowd. Towards the end of the night, “Leeora” from their 1995 album The Biz excited the long-time fans. A short jazzy jam session gave a nod toward their Chicago roots and featured the talented drummer McEntire.
The veteran members of The Sea and Cake brought a variety of some of their best work. Their ability to create both reserved, mellow sounds with almost inaudible lyrics to unsubtle rock with catchy hooks and heartfelt shouts underlined their unique niche in the indie music world.