Whereas their previous albums worked notably well as standalone long-players rather than individual tracks, for the new release, mainman Sam Prekop has sacrificed their flow ethic to create ten slick, precise and controlled slices of adult-orientated pop. Lead single ‘Harps’ is a relentlessly chipper exercise in synths n’ sequencers, glistening and gliding along like the soundtrack to endless sun and sandscapes. In fact, the seasons never change on Runner, ‘The Invitations’ is a gorgeous instrumental, the most experimental offering, edging close towards Fennesz-style ambience before the chiming guitars reveal themselves through the reverie. ‘Pacific’ is the punchiest cut, John McEntire (he of Tortoise and the album’s producer) hammers out a sea-chopping rhythm with Prekop’s delicate vocals almost drowning in amidst the cymbal crashes and keyboard oscillations. The title track closes the album on a marginally more sombre yet no less quixotic vibe with backwards guitar adornments and Prekop’s most sleepy vocal yet.
The Sea & Cake could have been in danger of becoming an indie-band-by-numbers, but ‘Runner’ is performed with all the vigour and aplomb of fresh-faced youngsters and executed with the deftness of touch of grizzled old hands.