There are a lot of songs about being young and restless. Or of the feeling that you’re getting older and you’re not making the most of your limited time here on terra firma. It’s a nigh universal sentiment for the overeducated and underemployed, the sort of dissatisfaction that comes from feeling like you’re stuck and capable of more.
Katie Bennett, the Philadelphia-based songwriter behind the indie pop band Free Cake for Every Creature, has written her share of these songs. Her last full-length talking quietly of anything with you had a handful of them. There was one called “all you gotta be when you’re 23 is yourself” that is explicitly turns over the question “Do i settle down or keep moving?” There’s another that part castigates and part celebrates the feeling of “22 years old, drawing chubby cows in my journal.” They’re songs about sorta making space for yourself to be a person, while being full of anxiety that you might be doing it all wrong, whatever that means. The music follows in kind, in the great tradition of songwriters who adore the works of Calvin Johnson (and she has another song that explicitly shouts out a pair of Beat Happening tracks), she’s often playing tentatively, sung quietly, allowing the song’s sentiments to dictate the unsteady ground. It’s moving stuff.
In a couple of weeks, Bennett and her cast of collaborators—this time including longtime Free Cake members Francis Lyons and Heeyoon Won, among a host of other pals—will release another record on Double Double Whammy called The Bluest Star. But in virtually every way, Bennett seems far more assured. On the two singles they’ve released already, there’s a jump Free Cake’s approach to arrangement. “In Your Car” roils with clarity and swooning slide work. “Around You” swells with wordless harmonies. The stories contained in the lyrics, even when blurry and imagistic, are clearly recounted.
That’s all the more true on “Be Home Soon,” premiering here today, which is one of Bennett’s finest songs yet. Gone are the question marks of her past work, the youthful doubt, the anxiety around always feeling like you’re fucking up. Instead, over more sleepy slide work, it’s the sound of a perfect lazy afternoon, riding a train and eating citrus fruit, relishing in friendships and the knowledge that someone you love is waiting for you at home with a pack of your favorite candy (even if I would quibble with Bennett’s choice, peanut chews are gross). It’s a moment of stillness in transit, of finding your place in this weird world, however momentarily, realizing that you have a community—or at least a friend who’ll slide you a free cup of coffee—and feeling at peace in that. Even if, like Bennett’s old songs, you often find yourself full of uncertainty, with time you’ll have moments of calm like these too. They’ll feel hard won.
Listen to “Be Home Soon” up above alongside a wonderful stop-motion paper-cutout video by Rivkah Gevinson that captures the song’s plaintive tone, up above. The Bluest Star is out August 3 on Double Double Whammy. It’s available to pre-order now.
Free Cake For Every Creature Tour Dates:
August 2 – Ridgewood, NY @ Trans Pecos * ^
August 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Everybody Hits * ^
August 4 – Kingston, NY @ BSP Kingston *
August 5 – Providence, RI @ AS220 +
August 6 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott +
August 7 – Portland, ME@ Aphoadian Theater + $
August 8 – Burlington, VT@ Arts Riot $
August 9 – Montreal, QB @ La Vitrola $
August 10 – Toronto, ON @ The Baby G
August 11 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
August 12 – Cleveland, OH @ Mahall’s %
August 14 – Michigan City, IN @ Quality Beet %
August 15 – Chicago, IL @ The Hideout %
August 16 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop %
* w/ Told Slant
^ w/ Slow Ref
+ w/ Horse Jumper of Love
$ w/ Lisa/ Liza
% w/ Amy O