10 Great Bands - Cake
They laugh, they make money, he’s got a gold watch, she’s got a silk dress and healthy breasts that bounce on his italian leather sofa.
My first experience with Cake was one of two things. It was either through the opening theme to the great but tragically short-lived show Mission Hill (a sped-up, instrumental version of Italian Leather Sofa, the song quoted above), or through a flash on Albino Black Sheep which was a music video to the song Comfort Eagle. Regardless of which one it was, their sound was so unique that it behooved me to find more stuff by them. Their catalog is full of catchy songs, it turns out. But two facets set Cake apart from the rest.
The first is the most obvious: their trumpet player, Vince DiFiore. Most of, if not all of, their songs include him and his fantastic playing. The addition of this brass element to what is otherwise a talented but unassuming alternative band from California is brilliant. It adds priceless value to an already distinct sound, especially in songs like Short Skirt/Long Jacket.
The second is slightly subtle, but no less valuable: John McCrea’s lyrics and vocals. He flirts with rapping at times and his deadpan voice is a perfect match for the sometimes sarcastic and bizarre lyrics he sings. It’s always fun to sing along to Cake, and McCrea’s vocals are a big part of that.
The backing vocals (usually shouted), the generous use of the vibraslap (a wonderfully fun instrument), the great cover of I Will Survive (f-bomb included), and other things I’m too lazy to list also help make Cake great. Their new album, Showroom of Compassion, released earlier this year, shows that they haven’t missed a beat.