Home Music The Sea and Cake move toward musical abstraction

The Sea and Cake move toward musical abstraction

by The Concordian November 1, 2011
The Sea and Cake move toward musical abstraction
Hailing from the windy city, Chicago-based world rock band The Sea and Cake has been creating an interplay of indie music for close to two decades. But after dabbling recently in experimental, instrumental and long-form composition on his solo album Old Punch Card, vocalist and guitarist Sam Prekop opted to continue his newfound expression with his bandmates to create their new not-quite-LP-length, not-quite-EP-length album The Moonlight Butterfly.
“It’s not entirely possible for me to wear entirely different hats from one thing to another,” said Prekop, explaining that “one thing bleeds into another” when he’s working on multiple projects.
That reality often results in songs that could either be part of Prekop’s solo work, or TSAC.
“A song like ‘Inn Keeping,’ I think in some ways, could have been on Old Punch Card, my solo record,” Prekop elaborated. “Or, it could have, until everyone else played on it… and then of course it became a Sea and Cake song.”
Relinquishing the rules that the band adopted over the past 16 years allowed them to step even further out of their proverbial “musical box,” opening them up to more fluid and experimental songwriting and performance.
“We decided that we didn’t have to make a full-length LP if we didn’t want to, or if we didn’t quite feel like it,” he said. “Once we decided that that wasn’t going to be the case, that opened us up to sort of trying out longer form pieces and instrumentals.”
Long-time TSAC fans shouldn’t fear; The Moonlight Butterfly stays true to the essence of old-school TSAC while incorporating this new and clearly passionate component of Prekop’s creative process.
“Inn Keeping,” the fifth song on the new album, begins with synth-y percussion-type sounds, and blends into the light, airy guitar and vocals that TSAC are famous for. The lyrics are soulful and tender, but unlike most previous releases, “Inn Keeping” is almost ten and a half minutes long.  The only other TSAC song that comes close to it in length is “Lost in Autumn” from their debut, self-titled album, which, in and of itself, is at least double the length of a typical TSAC track.
“We really sort of stick with the long form and it sort of makes sense as a live piece,” Prekop admits. “A lot of it is subtly improvised, which of course excels live as well, and that is a great thing to have the opportunity to do.”
In support of their newest album, The Moonlight Butterfly, TSAC began their 2011 tour. They just wrapped up five tour dates in South America, where their new material was well received by fans.
“People seem to know the new songs already, which always seems to be a peculiar sticking point,” he said. “It seems like if people haven’t heard [a song] then they’re not as responsive. I’m sure that’s not actually true, but from our perspective there’s a certain excitement with familiarity.”
But for those of you looking to catch TSAC live, you shouldn’t expect to hear an onslaught of new content.
“We have a bunch of songs that we’ve played since we started almost,” Prekop said. “For each tour, besides playing the latest stuff, we sort of try to change up the older songs that we play.” 

The Sea and Cake play La Sala Rossa (4848 St-Laurent Blvd.) on Nov. 6, 2011. Tickets are $14 in advance, plus taxes and service fees. Doors open at 8:30 p.m.

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