The Cake

Slice of the Cake

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The second and final album by this under-appreciated trio is by no means perfect, but it's a notable improvement on their extremely spotty self-titled debut. The Spectoresque girl groupisms are largely gone, and the R&B covers are reduced to one four-minute medley and a spectacular funky voodoo version of Mac Rebbenack's "Who Will Wear the Crown." That leaves the folk rock and lite-psych influences, and both are combined in a delightfully baroque fashion that both screams its 1968 recording date to the world and sounds uniquely timeless. The three members of the Cake, Eleanor Barooshian, Jeanette Jacobs, and Barbara Morillo, wrote seven of the ten songs in varying combinations, and that more hands-on approach (as opposed to the Jack Nitzsche-produced debut, which featured a much smaller songwriting contribution from the group) gives the album a cohesive quality lacking in the all-over-the-map debut. Many of the songs are spooky minor-key ballads, with the beautifully orchestrated although entirely inscrutable "P.T. 280" and the madrigal-like a cappella miniature "Under the Tree of Love and Laughter" among the highlights in that vein. However, the album's best track, and a minor lost classic of psych-era pop, is "Extroverted Introvert," a completely over-the-top tune (a steel band and a full orchestra!) with an unforgettable chorus and lyrics as oddball as the title. A Slice of the Cake is a terrific album just begging for rediscovery by psych-pop fetishists.

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