What? You were expecting Cake to open up a new bag of tricks when their schtick has remained almost exactly the same for a decade and a half? Fat chance. Although they’ve gone nearly seven years without releasing new material, the Bay Area band keeps things the same as they ever were with their latest album, Showroom of Compassion. Lead singer John McCrea’s vocals are still as dry as the desert, the lyrics are still a bit off-kilter, and the band is still tight as a drum, playing a stiff-legged form of funk rock spiced up with their signature horns.

Alternative rock radio has changed a lot in the past decade and change, but I wouldn’t be surprised if “Long Time” reaches the same chart-topping status that “Never There” did, especially since the two songs are similar musically. Other highlights include the groove-a-licious “What’s Now is Now” (which is apparently a Sinatra cover-who knew?) and the country-flavored “Bound Away”. Single “Sick of You” is another first-rate track, and truthfully, there’s not a dud in the bunch, even though either the album tails off a bit at the end or the usual schtick wears a little thin. Still, ten tracks of solid rock and roll doesn’t happen very often these days, and it’s safe to say that Cake has not lost a step during their absence. Showroom of Compassion is yet another tasty treat in this band’s solid musical cookbook*.

*Strained food metaphor. Sorry.

Grade: B

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