After a three-year sabbatical, Chicago's calm collective The Sea and Cake is back and ready to samba -- or whatever one does to post-rock, electro-acoustic music. There have been solo albums and side projects by Sam Prekop (vocals, guitar) and Archer Prewitt (guitars, keyboards). John McEntire (percussion, vibes, marimba, etc.) has been working behind the soundboard for Stereolab and other pals. Considering all this action, it's miraculous that the Sea and Cake has created an album, "Oui," that flows so gently.
Their previous work showed that S&C is an excellent indie-pop band -- one of the best, actually. But while "Oui" has its poppy moments, it all but ignores the ground covered in earlier releases. Introspective and wistfully melodic, Prekop's vocals will sink into your mind like sleep.
This is mainly a richly textured bossa nova album. High-lights include the introductory "Afternoon Speaker," "The Leaf" and "You Beautiful Bastard." "Oui" will calm your nerves. Be sure to stay away from driving and operating heavy machinery.