While Sam Prekop's primary creative outlet, the Sea & Cake, continues to incorporate more studio technology into its sound, Prekop's self-titled solo album thrives in a more organic environment. Recorded in Chicago with ex-Gastr del Sol guitarist Jim O'Rourke behind the board, the album sports a vibe that's loose and inviting, especially on the more upbeat tracks like the bossa nova-bopping opener, "Showrooms," and the funky "The Company." Prekop sticks with what has become his trademark: breathy, falsetto-tinged vocals and tenderly delivered lyrics. "On Such Favors" recalls the intimacy of the Velvet Underground, its languid mood marked by simple, reverberating chords. The sweet, piano-brushed "Practice Twice" and the Brazilified "The Shadow" are also highlights. Instead of calling on the prominent synth-flavored rhythms of the Sea & Cake's last album, Prekop opts here for a straight-up jazz drummer (Chicago Underground Duo's Chad Taylor) and an upright bassist (Josh Abrams) to flesh out his songs. TSAC guitarist Archer Prewitt plays clean, economical counterpoint to Prekop's melodies, while O'Rourke and cornetist Rob Mazurek color the empty spaces with subtle and sundry accompaniments. TSAC/Tortoise percussionist John McEntire even turns up playing triangle and maracas on a few cuts. O'Rourke doesn't intrude too much, although some of his stock production tactics surface on the Gastr-flavored intro of "Don't Bother" as well as the loopy, jazzed-out instrumental "Faces and People." Mazurek's long horn tones are especially effective on the latter. In all, this a lovely, understated pop album that reveals its many charms on repeated listens.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Cohen