The Sea and Cake has never been too dedicated to any one concept. Fundamentally, the Chicago four-piece could cozily fit into your average Indie Rock festival (their sound is closest to the pensive, downbeat stylings of Pinback or Built To Spill), but the group’s not really interested in sticking to an aesthetic palatable for just that one subculture.
TS&C has repeatedly incorporated Jazz flourishes into songs, but those touches are so restrained and subtle that you'd never dare confuse it with a straight-up Jazz band. Occasionally, TS&C might break out a Synth-Pop melody, but the band’s not particularly taken with Electronica either. The group has flirted with dreamy ballads and pastoral acoustic tunes, too. Really, it's quite remarkable how easily TS&C can drift between concepts and surprise you if you turn away momentarily.
In a testament to their potpourri, vocalist/guitarist Sam Prekop doesn't seem sure how to put his band’s sound into words — and he's been at this thing for nearly 20 years. During an interview with Courier Post Online in the wake of September's Runner — TS&C's 10th record — the frontman characterized his group as “Art Rock” or “Experimental Pop” but quickly added, “Depending on what day of the week, maybe ‘Post Rock.’ ” A noncommittal kind of malleability is why The Sea and Cake will predominantly remain underappreciated — even in underground music circles — but, hey, at least some of us get to be in on a nifty secret.
THE SEA AND CAKE perform Saturday, Oct. 27 perform downtown at the Ballroom at the Taft Theatre with Matt Friedberger. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.