Sharps & flats

On "Goodbye, So What," New York trio Cake Like play power pop with sweet and sour kiss-offs.

Topics: Music,

Cake Like delivers sarcasm and vinegar with sneering riffs, taunting choruses and deadpan humor. On “Goodbye, So What,” the New York punkish power pop trio’s third album, guitarist Nina Hellman, bassist Kerri Kenney and drummer Jodi Seifert soften their good-natured vitriol and decide that even if their caustic message remains the same, the messenger could be sweeter.

“Goodbye, So What” is an undeviating, toned-down version of the harsher side of the Breeders. The amateurish noise-rock of Cake Like’s earliest work is gone, but “Goodbye, So What” still retains the some of the artsy dissonance of “Brusier Queen” (1997). Nevertheless, it’s pretty sunny. The fuzzy-toned opener, “Lucky One” sounds like an early Hole outtake until the trio’s musicality advances the hum-along chorus. “My Guy” owes more to the bouncy L.A. melodies of the Go-Go’s than to abrasive art rock. And the breathy “Don’t Tell,” is as much a soulful duet between vocal and creeping bass as it is a punky psychedelic throwback.



The group’s dead-voice harmonies are especially effective on songs like “Getaway” and the dark, nihilistic “Blacked Out and Blue.” Taken as a whole, “Goodbye, So What” is a frugal and unhurried record, with sensual rhythms and rough-hewn textures converging into a slurry, savory and sexy whole. Like the band itself, it’s ragged and airy, ominous and righteous — and loaded with minor contradictions. “Don’t be like me,” sings the protagonist in “Ashely” to her little sister, which is always a loaded message. And in the deeply grooved rhythm of “Swell,” there’s a zombie-like chorus singing, “It was a hell of a time, so swell, so swell,” but the sentiment is almost the same as “God’s Alright,” a trippy pop, ’60s-inspired, free-for-all.

Five years ago, Cake Like were writing enjoyable, mean-spirited songs like “Bum Leg” with great kiss-offs like “Your dad works for my dad.” Without going completely soft, “Goodbye, So What” switches up and presents some of the group’s most beautiful work, songs full of atmosphere and memorable melodies. Cake Like still thrash, but they do it unconventionally, with a broader smile and sweet-over-sour send-off.

Robbie Woliver is a New York freelance writer.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>