Showroom of Compassion

Click to listen to Cake's Showroom Of Compassion

Cake graduated from the same Nineties class of alt-rock oddballs that produced Beck and Weezer. But where their contemporaries evolved or died, they've stayed true to the same droll sound (and not unsuccessfully; Cake songs are weirdly ubiquitous in movie and TV comedies). Their sixth disc has the usual whirring keyboards and winking mariachi horns, all subject to John McCrea's satiric sing-talking. He lays into hipsters, guys with mustaches and Angelenos, tempering his derision with pathos. "I need a hideaway," he sings on the Seventies-rocking "Sick of You." It's a quirky, cloistered approach, and McCrea's sticking with it.

Gallery: Keep up with rock's hottest photos in Random Notes

From The Archives Issue 1122: January 20, 2011