Rhythm & Views

Sam Prekop

Sea and Cake and Shrimp Boat frontman Sam Prekop's second solo CD (following 2001's self-titled release) is a languid, low-key affair. But languid does not equal static on Who's Your New Professor, and the 11 tracks here are beautifully constructed little pyramids of jazzy pop sophistication. Using the same crew from Sea and Cake, Tortoise, Sticks and Stones, Town and Country and other Chicago-area bands from his first CD, Prekop and friends are acutely attuned to the nuances of texture and resonance.

Conventional verse/chorus/bridge song structures are set aside in favor of a more open-ended, intuitive flow. Some of this ("Magic Step," "Density," "C + F") edges towards Stereolab-like electro-pop with subtle, bouncy electronics and muted cornet; other songs are more orchestral (without the orchestra) in an Elliott Smith sort of way. Prekop and fellow Sea and Cake member Archer Prewitt's guitars gently buzz with tremolo; Josh Abrams' bass gives it a jazzy push; the keys and synth give a little pull. Perhaps the biggest departure is the sudden appearance of a ringing, Neil Young-like electric guitar solo rising up out of "Dot Eye."

Prekop sings in a disarming purr that floats under, over and through his music like water over rocks in a stream. Who's Your New Professor is a dreamy, charming little number--perfect make-out music for café kids and the cute guy or girl down the hall.

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