ALBUM REVIEW: “Showroom of Compassion” CAKE

January 03. 2011 | By Trina Starke

Showroom of Compassion
[Upbeat Records]

Where have the last seven years taken you? I fell in love, got married, quit my job, sold my home, moved to another city, got another job, oh and became a step-mom to three chillins. Point being a lot of shite can go down in seven years so taking a hiatus between albums (and expecting your fans to be there upon return) can be one hell of a roll of the dice. For Sacramento droll band CAKE, it was a risk they were willing to take. On January 11th their long awaited full-length, Showroom Of Compassion (Upbeat Records) will finally drop after seven long years. To mark these seven years I am dishing 7 nuggets of sneak peek about the album:

  1. The first track “Federal Funding,” albeit political satire, is boring as hell and a poor selection to birth the album. (Also poor way to birth a review, but my hands are tied.) “You received the federal funding, you can add another wing” is an obvious face-smack to those bailout bastards but the track also made me want to bailout of the album.
  2. Surprisingly, two tracks have a very Beatles-esque vibe, “Got To Move” & “The Winter.” No seriously, wow! Immediate love and forgiveness for “Federal Funding.”
  3. Their first release, “Sick of You,” stands out as the most catchy track and carries with it that CAKE wit that immediately transported me back to my college days at Chico State. (Go Wildcats… and Sierra Nevada!)
  4. The album is heavy with recognizable CAKEisms: horn solos, lots o’vibraslap, heavy bass lines, and never-ending cattle calls and grunts by the all-man band. But it also  includes more piano which is a mature progression from previous CAKE albums.
  5. Feeding off their Nor Cal aggie roots, a steel guitar accompanies horns for the alt. country “Bound Away” which pays tribute to the touring life of the musician. It’s a surprising variation which I totally dug (must be the Nor Cal in me.)
  6. The all-instrumental track “Teenage Pregnancy” starts off innocent with a wistfully playful piano then builds and becomes as ominous as the title suggests. Excessive cattle calls with this one. I was almost expecting a “High Ho Silver, heyahhhh!”
  7. Showroom of Compassion is everything CAKE should be, is, and is not. It’s familiar yet different. It’s drollsome and snarky yet inspiring, surprising, and worthy of fan returnmanship. Welcome back, CAKE, you’ve been missed.

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