Sea & Cake energized for eighth album

Sam Prekop says band is planning a fall tour

NEW YORK -- The Sea & Cake frontman Sam Prekop concedes "Car Alarm," the Chicago indie rock institution's eighth studio album, "does feel much more upbeat and as much in your face as the Sea & Cake can be."

He's proved right on songs like "Aerial" and the title cut, which practically blast out of the speakers in comparison to the smooth, soulful pop of the band's recent releases.

"We showed up, everybody had their ideas together, and we worked them out in the studio quickly," Prekop said. "That was pretty exciting. We capitalized on having played live quite a bit in the not too distant past."

There's still plenty of gently groovy listening to be had on "New Schools" and "Down in the City," as well as a strange acoustic/electro hybrid pop song in the form of "Weekend" and an album-closing instrumental, "Mirrors," built around ... steel drums.

"I actually tried to get more of it on there," Prekop said with a laugh. "(Drummer) John (McEntire) got them on eBay. They're super high-end, so they're especially accurate and hi-fi. Van Dyke Parks has a record called 'America,' which has steel drum all over it. It's an interesting pseudo homage in some ways."

Prekop said the Sea & Cake will "be doing a bunch of touring in the fall. Maybe not a bunch, but most of the major cities -- a couple of weeks on the coast."

In addition, he's plotting a duo record with Sea & Cake guitarist Archer Prewitt, featuring "just the guitars and me singing. That may be my next project. I hope to get writing on that pretty soon."