After a suprisingly long 18-month wait between records, the usually prolific Chicago supergroup The Sea and Cake has released its fourth album, and like its predecessors, The Fawn deserves permanent rotation in your heart of hearts. Consisting of current and former members of Tortoise, The Coctails and Shrimp Boat, The Sea and Cake plays pop that's unlike any pop you've ever heard: Jazzy, fluid and low-key, the songs ooze style without stumbling on anything resembling pretense. Frontman Sam Prekop lapses in and out of a falsetto without a hint of testosterone, while Archer Prewitt provides shimmering guitar lines that meander while avoiding tension or showboating. It's all so damn easy to listen to, but it's far too meticulous in its structure to lapse into easy-listening boredom. Nothing on The Fawn is as brilliant as "Jacking The Ball," the stunning first track on the band's debut CD, but nothing has to be: Everything The Sea and Cake touches turns to sweet, surprising, deadpan pop magic.

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