The Sea and Cake is one of the most refreshing bands to appear on the local rock scene in a long time. Band members Sam Prekop, Eric Claridge, John McEntire, and Archer Prewitt have past or ongoing associations with wayward local outfits like Shrimp Boat, the Coctails, and Gastr del Sol, so it’s no surprise that they deliver a hushed, occasionally quirky minimalist pop. Their debut record, The Sea and Cake (Thrill Jockey), is awash in carillon-toned guitars and tastefully placed Brian Eno/Allen Ravenstine-styled synthesizer sputtering. Generally eschewing standard chord changes and verse-chorus-verse formulas, they build their songs around cycling melodic lines that ring like distant bells or pulse like classic soul. “Bring My Car I Feel to Smash It” has an almost motionless quality, while “Flat Lay the Water” wafts to your ears on irresistible hooks. The terse impressionistic lyrics Prekop lazily drawls have more to do with atmosphere and ambience than story line. Effectively substituting subtlety for stridency, pristine riffs for power chords, and imagination for image, this band provides an alternative to alternative. Saturday, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Michele Taylor.