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The Sea and Cake, ‘Car Alarm’ (Thrill Jockey)

Shannon Zimmerman // November 7, 2008

Reliably excellent but emotionally detached, the Sea and Cake’s eighth album is of a piece with their first seven: They leave nothing to chance. Pristine set-opener “Aerial” and the elegantly gliding “On a Letter” jangle and chime with mathematical precision, while the fizzy, synth-powered “CMS Sequence” serves up a bluffer’s guide to Kraftwerk. The warmest tune (“a Fuller Moon”) is a blur of snapping snare drum and Velvet Underground chord changes that, like the entire album, connects in oddly satisfying ways, despite the calculation.

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