Goodbye, So What
By: Eric G.
When Cake Like’s amazing debut, Delicious, busted onto the scene on John Zorn’s Avant label almost five years ago, it was an exciting time. An all-female, experimental band with clever lyrics laced with black humor and gutsy, brazen songs that rocked without the trappings of ‘girl-band’ cliches caught the imagination of college radio and made Cake Like the band to watch. The band’s follow up, Bruiser Queen, came out on Neil Young’s Vapor label, and some of the mystique disappeared. The record was good, but it didn’t have the same level of charm or the staying power of Delicious.
Cake Like’s secret lies in bassist Kerry Kinney’s multi-faceted wail- she can be sweet, sardonic, coy, and ruthless. The band’s sound mixes sugary pop melodies with angular post punk- a sound that has evolved to focus more on traditional song structure. Goodbye, So What is the band’s poppiest record yet, leaving behind some of the sarcasm and dark humor of the last two records in favor of mellifluous harmonies and catchy choruses. The band still lashes out but on a more personal and sincere note as on “Dead To Me”- an angry yet melodic ode of hate to an ex-lover: “you came back just to check in and see if you could still fuck me up you’re dead to me.”
The first couple of songs on Goodbye, So What are bright and poppy, peaking with the album’s best song, “Ashley”- a perfectly executed pop song with a spine-tingling bass line and the necessary la la’s and ooh ooh’s in the chorus. Things get a bit darker and slightly more experimental for the rest of the record with the exception of “Getaway”, which is, perhaps, the prettiest song Cake Like has ever recorded. Straightforward songs from Cake Like are subject to a raised eyebrow, but this one is for real. Not a trace of sarcasm. Cake Like is the only band of its kind making records these days, and its challenging mix of humor, punk attitude, and unorthodoxy is a welcome slap in the face compared to all the self-involved bullshit rock you can’t escape anywhere.