CAKE- Pressure Chief

This four-piece have been around for donkeys years and they still manage to sound like the coolest mofos on the block. I can't believe that I never paid much attention to them before, with the exception of the odd novelty cover version and "Going the distance"; still, although I can't say that this is all you might expect from a Cake album, I'm suspecting that it is and I love it.
I love it because it makes me want to dance like a lunatic Beyonce, and makes me believe that I don't look like a total arse doing this. I love it because it features afore-mentioned novelty cover of "Guitar man" by Bread and that just makes me swoon. But most of all I love it because it tells me to chill the hell out.
Actually, that's not true. When I first heard this, I wanted to cry. Not only, for once, was this something for me to review that was actually really enjoyable, but here is an utterly unpretentious band who tell it like it is. From the kitsch hip-hop of "No Phone" to the perfectly sweet pop-funk of "Waiting" and back again, Cake write about the drollness of daily living, with it's feelings of frustration and regret, in a way that makes heartache a thing to smile about, a godsend for people as melodramatic as myself. And for those not searching for the deeper meaning, clap your hands, sip a rum-based cocktail at sunset and kick back. It's as simple as that.

UNDERCUT- Soul Food Mother

I gave myself an undercut once. I was only seventeen, young and impressionable. It was winter and it left me feeling cold. I am tempted to say the same thing about this Bristol five-piece. As accomplished as they are as musicians, as much as they are flavour-of-the-month and have record folk fighting over them (Ian Grimble: Manics, Mansun, etc. and John Leckie: Radiohead, The Verve, Muse), they sound like none of these bands and this makes them pretty darn uncool.
In short, this is music by numbers; it could be something straight out of the bestseller "How to pen a melodic-if-a-little-cheesy song" written by Hoobastank, or an equally as anthemic and unoffensive rock band that conjures up images of men in tight leather trews wearing scarves in the middle of summer. It is safe. The tracks get slower and slower and, as pleasant as it all is, there is a little magic missing. Although the singer sometimes sounds like the gorgeous Gavin Rossdale of Bush (does anyone remember them? Pre-Americana when they said more than the F-word in order to impress their audience). But who they really remind me of is a slightly grungier Maroon Five. Now I am one of those people that won't change radio stations when they come on; in fact, I'll gladly hum along. Maroon Five are catchy enough. But so far as ADMITTING to this? Well, no self-respecting serious music fan ever will. Damn, I just did.

Anna C