“It’s a rock album,” says guitarist and lead vocalist Sam Prekop of Everybody, the first new release from The Sea and Cake in more than four years. The band’s recent show at Webster Hall in New York was a testament to that statement, as the indie-pop heavyweights demonstrated an active presence with a room-filling sound that listeners may not collect from their studio recordings. Their music has always glided along softly, as if on a continuous pulsating wave—rarely rising above the level of a throaty whisper—propelled by the interwoven rhythm of John McEntire’s precise-but-loose drumming and Erik Claridge’s sinewy bass, and punctuated by Prekop’s breathless, suggestive lyrics.
From the opening song on June 7th, each band member displayed a welcome assertiveness. Prekop attacked each word, alternately drawing out certain phrases or abruptly cutting them short. This angular, almost beat-poetic approach to singing served as a solid complement to the fill-heavy, quick-cut drumming of McEntire, who also plays for and produces Thrill Jockey label-mates (and fellow post-rock adventurers) Tortoise. The reliable Archer Prewitt provided a grounded center for the other three members, plying power chords and pedal loops to pleasing effect—in addition to the occasional harmonizing with Prekop.
Throughout their set, the band offered a satisfying mix of the new and old, hitting a few highlights from fan-favorites The Fawn and Oui, while demonstrating the versatility of the Everybody tunes, including “Crossing Line” and “Middlenight.” At times, it seemed like they could have extended the songs even further—not in any self-indulgent, jam-happy way, but simply within the natural progression of their elastic, often-entrancing songs. However, following the four year break, it’s nice to see the Sea and Cake back on the main stage.