A departure from his two previous solo albums, the Sea and Cake frontman Sam Prekop takes a break from quietly jazzy indie pop on his third solo outing, Old Punch Card, which finds Prekop moving in a more experimental, electronic direction. Sparse and textural, the album drifts back and forth between ambient melodies and static-filled soundscapes, falling somewhere between Animal Collective’s Campfire Songs and the works of Nuno Canavarro. Glitchy, unnatural sounds collide with soothing synth tones, feeling as if some kind of alien intelligence is trying to communicate something to listeners in a musical language they can’t understand, making the songs both soothing and enigmatic. While there is very little in the way of structure here, Old Punch Card seldom feels aimless. Despite the lack of beats, the songs propel themselves forward through Prekop’s lonely sonic plains, quietly condensing before dissipating into nothingness, with the silence between songs creating the illusion of structure. As an experimental piece of electronic music, Old Punch Card is an engaging and soothing album that will reward the open-minded and baffle anyone who expected the album to carry on in vein of his previous, more Sea and Cake-like efforts.
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AllMusic Review by Gregory Heaney