It is intrinsically all good ... I have a heart that's made
Steffan Piper | Palm Desert, CA | 10/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Having been a long time Cake listener on the West Coast and also having seen them numerous times in concert, I believe that 'Prolonging The Magic' is quite probably their best effort.
'You Turn The Screws' is up there to the top of my favourite songs by Cake. This album delivers from the first moment to the very last without a seconds hesitation.
Cake is infectious and highly listenable, they also don't seem to have a quality that fades or makes them sound like a flash in the pan or dated as many other bands do. It's hard to produce good music that stands the test of time and that also sounds incredible in concert.
I've been to hundreds of shows over the years in probably just as many genres, but seeing Cake preform in a very small club in Hollywood for roughly 50 people, has to be best show I've ever seen, bar none. No, I didn't get to see Bowie during the Heathen tour going through the Five Burroughs, either. That show was probably the best show ever done for modern man, and the buzz on it was tremendous - but alas, I missed it.
So, back to Cake ...
Where are they now?
Still touring ... at least for now. I would suggest getting out there and seeing them while you still can. They always play the hits and the large crowds always seem to know all the lyrics. John McCrea has stated that he's probably nearing the end of his run as a performance musician and wants to 'return to the earth ... and farm'.
Cake and their reception ...
Unfortunately, John McCrea seems to have taken a lot of the criticism the band received over the years and internalized it deeply. Maybe too deep. I'm not speculating here either, as it's been much talked about amongst Cake fans and in the media. I guess it's hard not to though when some of the mainstream reviewers were pretty harsh and very dismissive.
The good thing about Cake though, is that history will remember them well and hold them a coveted spot in the small group of musicians that had a strong and lasting impact on the modern music scene without completely selling out or imploding all over themselves.
A Bigger Better Slice of Cake
Tim Brough | Springfield, PA United States | 02/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Prolonging The Magic" was almost like an afterglow from Fashion Nugget. The edginess mellowed into warm smoothness, the sarcasm burnished into whisky-warm wit. The charm was still obvious and, at first glance, little had changed. After all, the first thing you hear is a song called "Satan Is My Motor." Around the middle of the album is a delightful bit of nonsense called "Sheep Go To Heaven."
But then the little things start to stick in your mind, like the Country Western pedal steel that glides through "Walk On By." Or the jazzy underpinnings of "When You Sleep" (featuring Cake's secret weapon, Vincent DiFiore's trumpet). And the descriptively solid slice of life "Alpha Beta Parking Lot."
For those looking for the alt-rock ironic pop will find plenty here. There's the hit single of "Never There" and the equally good "You Turn The Screws." John McCrea's trademark sing-speak is one of the things that makes Cake such a dependable pleasure, and on those songs he works it to perfection. There may not be an arch cover (ala "Nugget's" take on "I Will Survive" or Pressure Chief's go at Bread's "Guitar Man"), but there is a straightforward - well almost - love song in "Let Me Go."
I'd probably alternate "Prolonging The Magic" as my second favorite Cake album next to "Pressure Chief," but as far as the mellowing of Cake after the departure of Greg Brown (who wrote "The Distance"), this is as close to perfection as the band ever got again."