Cake: Cake – album reviewCake – Cake (Local Underground)
CD (with which you get download code both for this & for a live album)
Out Now

The new compilation from Bristol 90’s indie band Cake (not to be confused with US 90’s indie band Cake) draws together all their releases in one handy package. Paul Scott-Bates has been listening to it for us. See what he thinks below.

I’ve always been a big fan of cake (Ginger, Battenberg, Chocolate Fudge). A few years ago, my wife introduced me to another Cake – American jingly jangly group with quirky songs that can’t stop your feet tapping. When I saw a cd compilation of ‘one of the most underrated groups of the early 90s’, I couldn’t wait.

Initially, I was a tad disappointed. This wasn’t the Cake I was expecting (henceforth called American Pie). This was English Cake (Victoria Sponge, if you like) and I’d never heard of them. On first play, it was ok. Decent enough vocals and nice rhythms although slightly lacking in chorus. There was also a free download included with the album itself & of the band playing live.

Cake are / were from Bristol and this cd contains every studio track they ever recorded. Formed in 1992, they performed live many times but, finally split in December 1995 without ever securing a record deal. It’s a real shame, as on second listen, things clicked into place for me.

Track 1, Indigo Eyes, is a cracker. The opening line “It’s just a broken down dream” being somewhat ironic. It’s a big slice (pun intended) of early 90s guitar pop, one that you feel you’ve heard before, one that you’re really familiar with. There’s no reason why this couldn’t have been a hit, and it’s a mystery why no record company picked up on it. I can only assume the ones that Cake approached were either deaf or stupid. Or both.

Next we go to X Ray Ears. Deb’s vocals are good, reaching upwards, soaring. If there’s one thing the tracks lack however, it’s a decent production. That said however, the songs are so well constructed that you soon start to see through that fact. Two and a half minutes of an incredibly catchy song.

Falling is much the same. This album listens more like a Best Of than a complete discography. A guitar break straight from the soul. Feel it, I did. You just can’t beat a simple, well crafted song, and it seems that Cake mastered the art.

There’s also a live cd with the package. Initially I thought it was a waste of time. The sound is awful and I really thought you ‘had to be there’ to appreciate it. Again on second listen, if you can see past the sound quality, there are delightful songs in there. One I Love in particular, with its epic guitar solo included in a quite superb 8 minutes. From the sublime to the ridiculous as a cover version of No Limits then ensues. To be fair this really isn’t a wise choice but after several pints of Bedminster’s finest ale, probably nobody would have cared less.

This album is great testament to yet another of those lost groups of the 90s and a fitting tribute to what could have been.

Now pass me another slice of Victoria Sponge.

You can acquire the CD or DL the album from Local Underground’s Bandcamp page here.

All words Paul Scott-Bates. Paul’s website (where this first appeared) is Heaven Is A Place On Pendle. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.

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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air.


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