Cake has gone seven years between its last release, “Pressure Chief,” and its new album, “Showroom of Compassion.” The dessert-titled group hasn’t gone stale during the hiatus, but this album is far from its tastiest.
The general formula is exactly the same, as fans will remember. Vocalist John McCrea’s performance can just barely be described as singing, as he is among the least inflective vocalists in music. Guitarist Xan McCurdy is the anti-rock star, keeping things simple, and trumpet player Vince DiFiore complements the music as usual.
McCrea’s lyrics are as droll as ever. His emotionless lyrics make bluntly titled tracks like “Teenage Pregnancy” and “Mustache Man (Wasted)” seem humorous, if not special.
“Federal Funding” features the same subconscious humor, but is musically the highlight of the album as well (unfortunately, it’s the first track). The bass line is simple, but it works with DiFiore’s trumpet to provide an healthy groove.
“Federal Funding,” although fun, is not the immediately catchy single that Cake thrives on. It seems that every album it releases has at least one single that catches on and stays relevant. Examples include “The Distance” from “Fashion Nugget,” “Never There” from “Prolonging the Magic” and “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” from “Comfort Eagle.” Instead, the band offers “Sick of You” as the first single, which is not as whiny as it sounds, but is much more boring than the title suggests.
As the band hadn’t actually taken a break from each other during the seven years between albums, one would think that a band so skilled at crafting catchy singles could come up with something better to uplift “Showroom of Compassion.” Fans of Cake’s older stuff won’t mind, but this album will be tougher for rookies to grasp.