New albums deliver classic feel with new sound

New albums deliver classic feel with new sound

New albums deliver classic feel with new sound

Melissa Dunson

Cake-Pressure Chief

Cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Is anyone getting hungry yet?

The band has four albums, all well received, and numerous top ten hits, yet despite its successes, Cake maintains a fairly low profile in the music world. As each new album is released, longtime fans continue to ask, “Is this the one that makes it big?” This lack of publicity makes the band seem inherently new and is part of the California band’s indescribable charm. It doesn’t matter how many times you hear Cake’s songs on the radio, when you put on one of its CDs, you still feel like you’ve just discovered a hidden treasure and can’t help but walk around with a ridiculous smirk on your face as if you know something no one else does. This is the essence of Cake, the music industry’s best-kept secret.

Cake’s new album, Pressure Chief, is simultaneously familiar and wildly strange to die-hard fans. It’s a throwback to classic Cake at its best, but with an added kick.

Blaring trumpets, thumping bass, whimsical guitar riffs and the awkwardly different voice of John McCrea orchestrates it all like a mystical cowboy hat-wearing, truck-driving conductor.

Pressure Chief is more of the same with some added electronic sounds that add to the already catchy quality of the songs without ever sounding cheesy. The vocals reach a new level and achieve a quality almost Beatlesque at moments when the harmonies are just right.

The album contains the same strange lyrics focusing on relationships and social problems, saying things like no one else does.

“Go/Go ahead and destroy this/better come with an army/Are you feeling/ Feeling so much better,” McCrea croons suavely in “Take it All Away,” the third track off the new album.

The first catchy single from Pressure Chief, “No Phone,” contains all the great Cake elements needed for success: a repetitive chorus, erratic bass line, obscure electronic noises, mariachi trumpets and layered vocals. Cake went back to their roots to gain the same hollow, raw sound of their first album, Fashion Nugget, reminding fans of the garage band Cake started out as.

Chevelle-This Kind of Thinking (Could Do Us In)

Chevelle does it again. The hard-hitting Chicago trio delivers another volatile hardcore set of songs in its new album, This Kind of Thinking (Could Do Us In). Peter Chevelle’s vocals lead the way through a masterfully crafted collection of rock lullabies, slow, haunting melodies interrupted by driving guitars, thundering drums and layers of angry men screaming for your attention, fast, slow, fast, fast, slow. Every song on the album forces an emotional response, demanding you to think, feel, do anything but ignore them. They so effectively use the musical formula to bring the listeners to the edge of their seats and join with them to experience a building emotional crescendo you know is coming, but never seems too predictable. Musically the album has a more mature, polished sound that won’t disappoint fans. Unlike so many of their peers, Chevelle proves their commitment to the sound that made them famous and refuses to grow out of their hard core style. Who says grown ups can’t scream? Lyrically, the three brothers continue on the themes of pain rejection and redemptions, but delve deeper into their pasts and personal lives and carry you through an emotional, but never cheesy, journey.