The thing about Cake Like -and the thing that made its Delicious debut so doggone good – is that the band rocks. The trio might not rock hard, might not rock that competently, but Delicious rocked. Unfortunately, Bruiser Queen does not. Forsaking the pop-driven crunch of its debut for a far more studied sound, Bruiser Queen finds itself mired in thick-as-molasses tempo shifts, airy spaciousness and a whole lot of “atmosphere: To be certain, this album Is certainly a more diverse and challenging ride, but in taking from Delicious only the ringing chords. numbly walking bass lines and stop-start drumming, Cake Like has lost much of its appeal as underdog queens. The band’s ’96 single, “Mr. Fireman,” gets reworked, and it, along with “The New Girl” and “Lorraine’s Car,” are the few high points on Bruiser Queen. The album meanders along, twisting and turning through poorly thought-out ideas (particularly the French-sung “The American Woman”), rarely hitting on something worthwhile. While the playing has certainly improved, Cake Like has lost its drive, if not its spirit, and Bruiser Queen winds up being more of a task than a joy to listen to. (Vapor/Reprise)
First appeared in the September/October 1997 issue of Magnet.