To tell the truth, I’d never even heard of Cake but my knowledge of Bristol bands of the nineties always was a bit limited. However, and to forge the connection to the late eighties C86 thing, the formerly of the Flatmates Deb Haynes takes lead vocal duties on these 13 songs.
The C86 reference will no doubt provide a sonic clue as to what you get here and, indeed, this is indeed the child of cardigan wearing indie pop but, and credit must be given to the pen of guitarist Howard Purse for this, the songs man up rapidly and set out on a journey to properly steal your ears. As you might expect, there is a bit of quality variation on a compilation like this so “Diamond Mine” is the first song to really make its mark and, despite the rough and ready performance, it is a heart stealing languorous slice of grown up guitar pop. Not far behind, however, is the psych pop influenced “Wild Bill” that grunges things up successfully with a world weary Deb Haynes stealing the show before she turns all sixties temptress on the British r&b flavoured “Sacred”. In another change of style, “36” sounds like an outtake from The Band fuzzed up with lo-fi guitars and, although once again ragged in its execution, its charm – or that of Ms Haynes at least – is captivatingly obvious.
Whilst only a completest would want every track here, there is more than enough to interest the casual purchaser and it is hard to deny kudos to a band that sounded it should have gone on to greater things. I like Cake.
The album is available from Bandcamp.