This new Cake release? It stinks. And I don’t mean the songs, but the package itself’ a scratch-and-sniff affair with a scent so permeating, there’s no need to scrape to get a whiff of what those around the office only can guess is like grape Pez gone bad.
But to the music: Nineties indie faves Cake still sound sweet, even if this disc is mostly a holdover until the next album proper. “B-Sides and Rarities” is what it’s called and that’s exactly what it contains. To Cake fans, it’s a natural listen; to the uninitiated, start elsewhere.
Most of the tracks are covers, rendered in Cake’s deadpan style. There’s Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs,” devoid of all metal leanings (and also in a hidden live track, with guest Steven Drozd of The Flaming Lips); Kenny Rogers’ country-fried “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town”; plus standards from Frank Sinatra and Barry White. None are more bizarre’ and therefore, Cake-ready’ than Piero Umiliani’s lounge classic “Mahna Mahna.”
The band tacks on live versions of “It’s Coming Down” and “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” for the faithful.