I’ve always been a big fan of cake (Ginger, Battenberg, Chocolate Fudge). A few years ago, my wife introduced me to another Cake – American jingly jangly group with quirky songs that can’t stop your feet tapping. When I saw a cd compilation of ‘one of the most underrated groups of the early 90s’, I couldn’t wait.
Initially, I was a tad disappointed. This wasn’t the Cake I was expecting (henceforth called American Pie). This was English Cake (Victoria Sponge, if you like), and, I’d never heard of them. On first play, it was ok. Decent enough vocals and nice rhythms although slightly lacking in chorus. There followed a live cd too.
Cake are/were from Bristol and this cd contains every studio track they ever recorded. Formed in 1992, they performed live many times, but, finally split in December 1995 without ever securing a record deal. It’s a real shame, as on second listen, things clicked into place for me.
Track 1, Indigo Eyes is a cracker. The opening line, “It’s just a broken down dream” being somewhat ironic. It’s a big slice (pun intended) of early 90s guitar pop, one that you feel you’ve heard before, one that you’re really familiar with. There’s no reason why this couldn’t have been a hit, and, it’s a mystery why no record company picked up on it. I can only assume the ones that Cake approached were either deaf or stupid. Or both.
Falling is much the same. This album listens more like a Best Of than a complete discography. A guitar break straight from the soul. Feel it, I did. You just can’t beat a simple, well crafted song, and, it seems that Cake mastered the art.
There’s also a live cd with the package. Initially I thought it was a waste of time. The sound is awful and I really thought you ‘had to be there’ to appreciate it. Again, on second listen, if you can see past the sound quality, there are delightful songs in there. One I Love in particular, with its epic guitar solo included in a quite superb 8 minutes. From the sublime to the ridiculous as a cover version of No Limits then ensues. To be fair this really isn’t a wise choice, but, after several pints of Bedminster’s finest ale, probably nobody would have cared less.
This album is great testament to yet another of those lost groups of the 90s, and, a fitting tribute to what could have been. Now pass me another slice of Victoria Sponge.
Published on Louder Than War 30/10/12 - http://louderthanwar.com/cake-cake-album-review/