Despite Car Alarm being the eighth album from Sea And Cake, and despite my love of many bands who share members and locale, I have never reviewed an album of theirs on this site. I guess this is as good of any place to start, as it's one of their most solid releases in some time (although, to be fair the group has never really stumbled in a major way). Although the group has been together for fifteen years now, albums have usually arrived at a more drawn-out pace, but for this twelve-song, forty-minute release they went straight into the studio right on the heels of a long tour in order to try to capture the energy and spontaneity properly.
It should come as no surprise then, that Car Alarm feels much more urgent and crisp than several of the past efforts from the group. Sure, they pretty much always sound like a well-oiled machine, but the pace is much more on the brisk side here (as opposed to simply breezy), and while they don't take too many stylistic liberties with their sound, the hooks and songs are just tighter in general. "Aerial" and "A Fuller Moon" open the release, and although they're the only two songs on the release that clock in over four minutes, neither one sounds even that long as they weave through intricate melodies from Prekop and Prewitt while all kinds of little flourishes glint off the edges.
The middle of the release is even more rocking, with the album-titled "Car Alarm" growling with a bit more edge than anything I've heard from the group in ages, while "Weekend" is a cheery little electronics-laced number that rolls with thick synth bass and some chirpy beat programming. The latter might be the standout on the album, pushing into slightly different territory than usual from the group. Things chill out a bit as it winds toward a conclusion, but things never get languid. As mentioned above, the group largely plays around in well-established territory melodically and musically, but it's the small twists and slightly more upbeat tempo that make the release feel more exciting than their past efforts. If you're a fan of the group, you're certainly not going to go wrong here.