Plates Of Cake
Becoming Double [LP; Self-Released]

I was worried about this album after the first spin. Becoming Double has some jarring stabs of sound, not to mention all-new production values, that didn’t present themselves on the first two excellent Plates Of Cake full-length recordings. But underneath there’s that same mighty presence singer/guitarist Jonathan Byerley has flaunted all along. Tunes like “Faces in the Dirt” wander in unpredictable directions, part of the reason I was spooked earlier. I’ll be damned if they didn’t pull it off again though, warts and all, achieving yet another level of candor and melodic efficiency. Maybe they listened to classic Ganglians a little? (No reason not to; I love that band.) Whatever the reason, these falsetto choruses might trip you out too, and the antidote to that is to listen to the sections bookending them. Pure gold. “Church Wounds” might be the best risk taken, a catchy verse hookin’ it up before a nonsensical chorus blows all momentum in a beautiful way. Then there’s an instrumental passage spliced in there too, that shouldn’t fit (yet it does), before that almost annoyingly charming verse closes the confounding tune out with a resounding YEAH. “Boyfriends” sounds like The Lovin Spoonful, and that’s… I don’t know if I like that a little or a lot but I’m definitely throwing Plates Of Cake the benefit of the doubt on this one, flutes and all (yep, going all Van Occupanther on that azz); hell, saloon piano and all (again: yep). And the breakdown, once again, is perhaps the most winning part of all, random and killer-diller. I’m starting to ramble a bit maybe but I think PoC deserve a little more butter on their bread than most, and I’m in a good mood, so let’s flip to Side B and get even downer with Byerley and co. “Compton Crackdown” is another clever lyrical yarn, with almost Led-Zepp-ish guitar cutz you might have noticed on the last LP. Nice one. There’s even a guitar solo, which isn’t at all what you’d expect from this tribe. Again, I’m thrown from the bus and rolling down the cement, but I’m avoiding major injury. Barely. Likely to turn the most heads, “Old Time Brutes” pairs busy fretwork with a cheeky, bluesy chorus that sucks on purpose and thus, kinda works. This is where maybe a little Pavement is seeping through the cracks? Gotta be, just a little. Then you have… well, I’ll skip a few and head straight to “Cane Cutter,” another quirkily delivered ditty that defies all expectations with a Queers-ish chorus and a piano solo sewing it all together. I’m impressed. Becoming Double bets the farm on innovation and comes through with a lot more wins than losses. Plates Of Cake have set the table; time to eat, y’all.


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