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Sam Prekop | s/t (Thrill Jockey)
Fundamentally The Sea & Cake with a new rhythm section, Prekop's first solo outing leans towards the easy jazz aesthetic of early S&C tracks like The Fontana and Jacking The Ball, his breathy vocal and tasteful, evocative guitar augmented with keys courtesy of the ubiquitous Jim O'Rourke and strings. The empathetic interplay with fellow guitarist Archer Prewitt (the lynchpin of the Sea & Cake's sound) continues to bear fruit, whilst the contrary relegation of John McEntire to percussive embellish-ments (crediting McEntire with 'triangle' seems absurdly at odds with his reputation!) seems to have taken the experimental controls away from the master multi-instrumentalist and placed them firmly in the hands of Prekop. In place of McEntire and Eric Claridge come Chad Taylor and Josh Abrams respectively, a restrained, swinging rhythm section that allow the songs to breathe, unhindered by studio noodlings. Some primitive piano tinkling enlivens the instrumental The Back, whilst the delicate guitar intro of Don't Bother recalls Kenny Burrell's mellower moments. Faces And People betrays the personnel and heritage of Chicago's scene, it's sampled, looped backdrop interchangeable with many of those from Tortoise or Isotope 217 (whose Rob Mazurek makes a delightful cornet coda on the track), an anomaly among the timeless, soulful remainder. O'Rourke's production is delicate and well judged, his own contributions on slide guitar (So Shy), organ (Showrooms) and the briefest of backing vocals (On Such Favors) particularly effective. Sam Prekop has delivered a lazy, summer day of a record; a sumptuous, laid back affair.
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue