Cake - Motorcade of Generosity

Page 15/06/2009

Rating: 2.5/5

Cake are best known for their three indie disco hits Short Skirt/Long Jacket, The Distance, and their indie cover of Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive. Those songs aside, though, they have never really been much more than a little blip on the indie landscape, of interest to only a few. Now they reissue their debut album Motorcade Of Generosity allowing the music public the chance to catch up on what they have most likely missed out on first time around. Will the album allow Cake to cross over to a bigger audience this time?

Quite simply: no - not unless bland college rock becomes the next cool thing and, well, stranger things have happened I guess. I should love Cake I really should, quirky, lo-fi, American indie with more than a touch of country, they should tick all the boxes of a band I would instantly fall in love with but somehow Cake just can't do it. All the way through Motorcade Of Generosity there is an uncomfortable air of smugness polluting the tracks, much like the annoying friend of a friend who has to tell you how weird and quirky they are, Cake feel the need to remind you of their quirky side in almost every song, and like that friend they are far too middle of the road to be of any interest. Considering this was released in 1993 as well, when Pavement were at their peak, it's not hard to see why it was largely ignored and over 15 years later nothing has changed, there is no sign of a band ahead of their time just a rather dull little band who have had a bafflingly long career.

Each track contains Mexican sounding horns, the only effect seeming to be a constant reminder that Calexico do this sort of music much, much better. And that's Cake's problem, Modest Mouse, Wilco and The National all do this style of music and do it much better. Whereas Cake seem unable to up their game to match their rivals, like when this album was first released and they were a pale shadow of Pavement. It's not that Cake are awful, you could hear this album at a party while a bit worse for wear and think you have found a work of pure genius, only to sober up and realise that it's just a bit dull.

Overall, the album's a let down, far too dull to really care about, it might be suitable to soundtrack an annoying American teen movie or a wild drunken spring break, as the Americans say, but for an interesting worthwhile album you really need to look elsewhere. On this showing it's easy to see why Cake are not known for anything but a few quirky singles.