The Sea and Cake's captivatingly low-key music has brought them little fanfare in their 24-year career, but it has tacitly endeared them to many. Any Day marks their 11th studio album and first in six years, and while they may not be offering a huge departure from their previous efforts' lush avant pop with splashes of jazz and post-rock, they remain one of the most consistent bands in operation.
As ever, what they lack in bluster they make up for with craft. The Chicago trio have always managed a delicate balance that allows their skill to shine while maintaining warmth, and they continue that trend here, be it on the rolling, verdant rhythms of "Occurs" that prove quite hypnotic, or the calypso cadences of "Into Rain" that reveal what a quietly imaginative band they are. Elsewhere, "I Should Care" offers a pacier interval, as does "Day Moon" with its rolling bassline. But the band chooses to sign off with a track more in tune with the record's prevailing tranquil vibe in the shape of "These Falling Arms," which closes the record in beautifully rewarding fashion.
There's a danger these gentle compositions could just wash over and make no real imprint on one's consciousness, but to their credit the record is too rhythmically stimulating and the hooks too elegant for it to be a forgettable album. The subtly appealing melody of the title track coupled with the track's finely formed details is just one example of an intelligent band that can be just that without any sense of affectation or pretense. Getting lost in Any Day is merely to surrender to delicacy in lieu of something more directly boisterous.
There's nothing fashionable about the Sea and Cake's music, and therein lies much of their charm. Any Day is a very singular world, and one at odds with the age of streaming and its algorithm-generated, trend-chasing playlists; it requires the listener to relinquish time and place, to make room and peace enough to enjoy their gently wrought virtuosity.