Have your Cake and listen to it too!

Cake with humour on top
If intelligence officials are looking for a clue to the timing of another attack, they should probably check the upcoming release schedule for Sony music.
If they know what to look for, if they know their history, they’ll probably put a big red circle around Oct. 5, 2004 — the day American rock band Cake release their new album, Pressure Chief.
“There’s always been some sort of impediment towards our full-scale explosion,” says the band’s frontman John McCrea good-naturedly.
Over the course of the band’s 10-year history and super-fine albums, such as 2001’s Comfort Eagle and 1996’s Fashion Nugget, those impediments have included everything from 9-11, to poorly timed record company mergers, to the ’90s rock movement.
Then again, McCrea says, maybe it’s not the cosmos conspiring to keep the band on the fringes of mainstream music — maybe it’s a case of self-sabotage by way of a sense of humour.
It’s always been part of the Cake mix — although just one small ingredient — but it’s one that too many focus on offering up the band’s cover of I Will Survive as evidence.
“I think it’s prevented a lot of Baby Boomers from taking us seriously because they want pure seriousness or pure humour,” McCrea says before offering an analogy by way of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials, where the two men bumped into each other annoyed that one’s peanut butter got in the other’s chocolate and visa versa.
“But it ended up being fine that those two flavours got together,” says McCrea. “A lot of time, people can’t handle tragedy or comedy mixed together or opposites hanging out in the same room, but that’s the way it is in the world.
“We’ve been unfairly categorized as a joke band on every single album (along) the way, by Baby Boomer critics that come from the ’60s where everything was simple, sincere, earnest, striving — and it’s just not that kind of world any more.”
Well, hopefully the world will stay the same and remain ready for Pressure Chief, which they’ll preview some material from when they play the Roots and Blues Festival tomorrow night at McMahon Stadium.
The disc, McCrea says, is pretty much typical Cake, with the one difference being he and his bandmates took the production duties into their own hands giving it a somewhat less polished and full sound.
“It’s not intentionally lo-fi — it’s lo-fi because we didn’t know what we were doing,” he says.
“It’s not like The Strokes trying to put distortion on the lead vocal to make it sound like 1972, it’s actually because we’re lame.
“But it ends up sounding good, I think.”