The latest LP from Brooklyn’s Plates of Cake expands on their ability to sit comfortably between genres. The band cherry picks strengths from jangle-pop, power pop, and AOR tropes without fully investing in any of them. They employ a breezy bounce on the guitars — carefree to the point of Lounge on “The Man I Want To Be” — but most often it gives their songs an air that’s just short of aloof. They read casual and cock-eyed but still strangely approachable. Singer Jonathan Byerly has a croon that sits somewhere between the resonant wink of Jonathan Richman and Tom Verlaine, but when employed right he can give a track the requisite simmer. They skew the jangle over time and let a creep of acrid fuzz linger into their sounds corroding the clean lines with a subtle crumble.
As the band winds into the mid-section they really hit onto the power-pop lacquer. “Crusader Castle” and “Misery Behind Her” have a bigness to them that pulls from the classic swagger of the ‘70s (Petty, Costello, Lowe) but lets the line linger on into the early ‘10s summoning up comparisons with fellow BK influence alchemists Nude Beach. The band proves they’ve got a boil brewing for the live nights with the instrumental “Rendition” — the kind of cut you know is gonna work itself into a sweat-puddle set-ender unbuttons their sound in the process. They’ve been burning through the rungs of small platter dealers (Uninhabitable Mansions, All Hands Electric) before taking things into their own hands and while they might need to shout louder than some of their peers to get heard, they definitely have the right to be shouting.
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