Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Sea and Cake- Oui

      I recently took a friend of mine, Tony, who may know as the Motherfish Writer, to get a tattoo done. The shop was a nice enough place, but it happened to be located at the edge of one town which bordered several other towns, and without directions home, we manage to visit and then promptly leave four different towns in the matter of three wrong turns. The Sea and Cake’s Oui saunters through a similar predicament with style and grace, in the matter of measures slipping in and out of jazz, post-rock, prog, math-rock , all with a dreamy ambiance, and manages to find its way home without running out of gas. While the general vibe of the album doesn’t beg you to pay attention (it’s an ideal pre-sleep record), listen closely, and you shall be rewarded tenfold.

    The mostly instrumental Oui is, strictly speaking, one of the most peaceful records I own. Each instrument oozes high craft, and together they have been clinically proven to help listeners reach Super-Nirvana. Genre-blending and musicianship abound; it’s difficult to decide whether to file this next to their sister band Tortoise, Hatfield & the North, or Charlie Parker. Thankfully, Oui avoids the major pitfall of the genre- songs as long and dull as The Bible. By producing laid-back tracks within the range of the human attention span, Oui is both more digestible and more enjoyable. Even the longest song, “You Beautiful Bastard”, just misses the six minute mark, and not a beat of it is wasted idly ‘jamming’.

    While several of the tracks do contain vocals, The Sea and Cake mostly use this more as a form of instrumentation, letting lighter-than-air melodies mix with the jazz-inspired percussion and whirring synthesizer in the most economical way. This is a musician’s music. Expect none of the rawness or noise of your favorite punk band- this is the product of masterminds. Cutaway: Lex Luthor gleefully twiddles away at a MiniMoog. While this might not become your favorite record, its brilliance is beyond doubt, and despite calling Oui a great “pre-sleep” listen, I don’t consider that an insult. This record is a panacea to the busy mind, and instilling that sense of peace while retaining musical interest is a skill in its own right. Next time you’re feeling lazy on a weekend, spend the day in bed with The Sea and Cake, and hope your significant other understands.


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