Cake's droll blend of melody, irony and postmodern romance remains intact, despite the exit of half the original band to feisty offshoot Deathray. Singer John McRae decorates his Beat-style phrasing with the usual cheap keyboards, trumpet squeaks and sharp beats, while lifting the guitar riff from Lou Reed's "Sweet Jane" for the funky "Short Skirt/Long Jacket." It's all fodder for McRae's arch examinations of modern society. Sarcasm and affection for the common man.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two (fair), three (good) and four (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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