Summary

The Sea and Cake are an ebb-and-flow group, often releasing albums in spurts and then going their separate ways -- which, considering their array of side projects, is many different ways. After a multi-year rest following the late-2000s burst of Everybody and Car Alarm, the quartet returned to the studio again to produce a mini-LP, 2011's The Moonlight Butterfly, and then its full-album companion, 2012's Runner. Extending the aims and themes of the group's late renaissance, Runner is less a guitar album and more an electronics album, with songs that rest on fewer chord changes and more synth wash. The process used to write and record was also different, resulting in a (slightly) different album -- although still unerringly the Sea and Cake. Vocalist and songwriter Sam Prekop wrote songs on synthesizer, then sent them around to other members for some reimagination before the usual process of recording and mixing began at drummer John McEntire's Soma Studios. The results are elegant and beautiful, as all Sea and Cake albums are, but also slightly experimental. There are fewer full-band moments here, and more space, easily seen in the way "A Mere" fades out in slow motion, gradually and sensuously. ~ John Bush