Words: S. Frances Kemp
Nothing is new under the sun for Free Cake For Every Creature. Childhood towns become big cities, muffins are a dinner food and being in your early 20s is scary. It’s ok to be sad and sometimes stress baking is the only actual solution to your woes. These little ideas about growing up and trying on life, make up the gooey center of Free Cake’s second full-length album Talking Quietly of Anything With You.
The album opens up with a song that shares the title of the album. Bennett is figuring things out for herself in the opening. The song starts with a simple chord progression and moves into hushed vocals. Bennett’s nervous, it’s her first summer in a city and everything feels new. This kind of simple sentiment is something I can relate to. It’s that feeling of finally being just old enough to comprehend that you’re on your own and it’s up to you to find your way, both in terms of topography and in the cheesy, metaphorical sense, as 20-somethings are beaten over the head with a copy of Oh the Place You’ll Go. The song eventually breaks into a quiet play between drums, guitar, and a second set of vocals.
Things never get more complicated, sonically, than the addition of a bass line or a set of drums nodding off in the back. That being said, things don’t need to. "So Much Strange to Give" is a highlight on the album and shows off the band’s ability to be musically versatile. It plays a little bit with some of the conventions of surf rock but is ultimately grounded in the tender pop lyricism that pulls this album together.
Bennett’s world under the Free Cake moniker is a simple and glorious one. Like most of the bedroom pop coming off of Double Double Whammy in the past few years it is about the diaristic quality. Talking Quietly presents a world where we talk about the things we draw and the little moments of bliss that come from riding your bike. It is an album that follows a tradition as old as Free Design in the 60s and popularized again in the 90s and early 2000s by bands like the Softies and Dear Nora. There is something so special, in an age of sound effects pedals and electronics about DIY minimalism. It’s evocative of the way we tell stories to our friends. It’s ok to dial it down once in a while. After all, Bennett would just rather draw chubby cows in her journal.