Someone Else’s Cake
Someone Else’s Cake is the third full-lengther from this Seattle power-pop quartet. It’s 2013-meets-1979 with obvious Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, Graham Parker influences. And then there are the American bands – everything from Big Star to The Minus 5, I thought, too, of The Grays (that wonderful Ro Sham Bo album).
Bursting out of the box as if it’s Lincoln Barr (RJM’s chief writer/singer) leading a new version of Elvis Costello’s Attractions, you’ll be thinking of slightly punked-up Ben Folds Five and remembering just how magic that early Joe Jackson stuff was (is). But for all of the obvious references and influences – Red Jacket Mine is most certainly making a version of Record Collection Pop after all – it never feels like the songs on Someone Else’s Cake have been done before; these aren’t copies, they aren’t fakes, this is heart-and-soul songwriting, full of fire and wit and guts. Call it a by-product then that in and around playing this album you’ll also be heading back to Armed Forces and This Year’s Model, to Jesus of Cool and to Rockpile.
Barr’s songs never stick around too long, here 11 of them bolt from the gate in just a little over half an hour, but there is a soul to the sound, there’s craft in the urgency and this is a tight unit too; a killer-good band nailing each tune.
So I’ve been playing this a fair bit – and I have been back listening to Joe Jackson and (always) the early Costello and a bit of Graham Parker, some Bruce Cockburn too. The Grays. And the first Ben Folds Five record. But I don’t want any of that to be Red Jacket Mine and I don’t think Red Jacket Mine want that either. They just know all of that stuff. Inside out. And round and round. Never spoiling their own songs by throwing too much at them. Allowing you to hear a new thing in each song each time. Because, you see, they prove you can have Someone Else’s Cake and eke it too.
It’s very early to be calling this the best pop record I’ve heard this year – it might not mean a lot. (Just yet). But it is, easily, the best pop record I’ve heard this year; I’ve got well hooked on this. I love it. It’s full of the flavours I love.