By: Eric G.
Archer Prewitt plays an even more maudlin form of chamber pop than his band, The Sea And Cake, if you can believe that. His voice is less distinctive than Sam Prekop’s is, but it has a light cadence that brings an instant familiarity to his songs. The presence of horns seems strange and out of place at first with the light gray hues of the songs but they add an authentic and dated feel- like this record could have been made in the mid-seventies. Prewitt’s songs all share themes of change, longing, and a fading remembrance of things past. Even when his band gets upbeat and even slightly funky as in “Shake”, there’s still an underlying melancholic tone.
This is Prewitt’s second solo album. He’s been an underground luminary for the better part of this decade since his band the Coctails hit the streets with Early Hi-Ball Years in 1992. He then joined Chicago’s The Sea & Cake for its debut on Thrill Jockey in 1994. The Coctails last surfaced in 1996 with Live At Lounge Ax, but The Sea & Cake is still together as far as I know. Prewitt’s pop arrangements reveal a strong Burt Bacharach influence, but Nick Drake seems to be the closest true comparison. If Drake had ever ventured into more ornate forms of pop than even Bryter Layter explored then he may have sounded somewhat like this.
In concert Prewitt stands stoically still with his guitar while his band plays dreamy, dynamic pop with melodramatic heart. His voice is thin and light but carries his emotions well as on “Walking On The Farm”- an eight minute epic of sorts about time’s slippery nature. This kind of music could easily blend into the woodwork if played at low volumes. It’s the musical equivalent of waking up from a nap, where you are all confused and disoriented and extremely sensitive to your surroundings. It consistently maintains that hazy, dreamy nature throughout. White Sky is a comforting record that leaves you feeling nostalgic and sentimental in spite of yourself.