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Motorcade Generosity , 6.5/10
Fashion Nugget , 6/10
Prolonging the Magic , 6.5/10
Comfort Eagle , 6/10
Pressure Chief (2004), 6/10

(Clicka qua per la versione Italiana) Cake is a Sacramento band led by singer and guitarist John McCrea. Motorcade Generosity (Stamen, 1994) displays a crooked sense of humour in its revision of country, blues, tex-mex, funk, reggae and salsa stereotypes that recalls Camper Van Beethoven. That band's irony is the main weapon of the trumpet-driven single Rock N' Roll Lifestyle (1994) that revealed them.

Once realized the commercial potential of their stew, Cake veered towards a more danceable sound (Todd Roper on drums and Victor Damiani on bass) and Fashion Nugget (Capricorn, 1996) promptly delivered the surprise hit single The Distance (Capricorn, 1996), thanks to funky horns and keyboards.

Prolonging the Magic (Capricorn, 1998) is still roots-rock, but with a unique quirky twist. The Cake dress up bitter and melancholy melodies with arrangements that transform them into comic novelties. A theremin, maracas and a mariachi trumpet supplement the Kinks-y power-pop ditty Guitar. Piano and trumpet "jazz" up the noir theme of You Turn The Screws, while the theremin adds a 1960s beach-party feeling. The slightly dissonant folk-pop of Satan Is My Motor and the waltzing country ballad Mexico sell out the idea. The highlight is Never There, that features a syncopated funk rhythm, an ironic Romeo Void posture, and a romantic trumpet solo. They can be jovial storytellers in the witty hyper-realistic vein of Jonathan Richman (Sheep Go To Heaven, Hem Of Your Garment). But the album closes on a somber, moody tone with the blues dirge Cool Blue Reason and the majestic hymn Where Would I Be.

On Comfort Eagle (Columbia, 2001) huge doses of wit and of melody (and ukulele) are supplemented with tactful arrangements that dig tricks from funk and jazz-rock (epitomized by Vince De Fiore's trumpet wails and Gabriel Nelson's bass lines). While Love You Madly, Meanwhile Rick James, Comfort Eagle only rely on the catchiness of the refrains, smart songs like Opera Singer and Long Line Of Cars are actually clever postmodernist essays in disguise. Another understated element of Cake's pop sound is nostalgy, that shows up repeatedly and namely in the doo-wop of Pretty Pink Ribbon and in the instrumental Arco Arena.

Jon McCrea discretely acknowledges the age of electronic and digital productions on Pressure Chief (Sony, 2004), a charming collection that manages to sound cohesive even if it ranges from quasi-emo (Wheels) to power-pop (No Phone), from country balladry (She'll Hang the Baskets) to roots-rock (Dime).

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