The Sea and Cake Credit: Heather Cantrell

Last week the Sea and Cake released its 11th album, Any Day. The record embodies a simmering cool, which is demonstrated in the elegantly crystalline guitar lattice sketched out by Archer Prewitt and singer Sam Prekop—whose vocal lines have never sounded more sweetly aspirated—and also serves as an impressive assertion of commitment. A year after the band released its previous album, 2012’s Runner, longtime bassist Eric Claridge had to step back from touring due to carpal tunnel syndrome, and he left the group permanently soon after. Then, in 2016, drummer John McEntire (who is also a founding member of Tortoise) moved to Los Angeles. But geographic distance and personnel shifts have exerted little apparent effect on the band’s gorgeous, languid pop. Nick Macri contributed bass on the title track, but otherwise Prewitt doubled on that instrument—Douglas McCombs of Tortoise and Eleventh Dream Day is taking on that role for live shows—and it’s hard to notice any change. Despite the fizzy melodies and jangling, shimmering guitars, McEntire often wields serious heft with his playing, which adds a heavy bottom that beautifully counters the sunny front line. Aside from a wash of wordless singing by Prekop, “Paper Window” is instrumental, and suggests vintage Beach Boys taking a stab at exotica, while “Into Rain” shimmies over a bossa nova groove. Between those tracks is “Day Moon,” which chugs along on motorik beats while Prekop gracefully applies a weightless hook over dampened riffing and Prewitt’s hydroplaning lead guitar. McEntire’s precise jackhammer pulse on “I Should Care” adds punch to an arrangement and melody that could otherwise drift away. The band saved the best for last: album closer “These Falling Arms” is a summer ballad that features one of the most memorable bridges in the group’s rich history.   v