Previous only available on import the early Sea And Cake albums are now reachable for the UK public. 'The Fawn' from 1997 is notable for two moments of sheer inspiration. At this stage of their career the group often gave the impression of "too clever by half" sound manipulators. Yet 'Sporting Life' - which seems to document a tale of horse racing - is one of their exemplary quiet avant-pop masterpiece; it is a moving piece of flute-assisted excellence which is almost old-fashioned in feel. Similarly 'There You Are' involves a ringing guitar hook. It's probably no coincidence that these tracks stick to some kind of a verse chorus template which is only repeated once more on the closing 'Do Now Fairly Well' a piece of extreme tenderness which further enhances their odd charm. Elsewhere the album is full of woozy jazz riffs - often accompained by Sam Prekop's distant whisper - positioned in not entirely uninteresting soft-focus settings, helped in no small part by the groups' ear for melody. Occasionally it sounds a little noodlesome ('Black Tree In Bee Yard') but the likes of 'Bird And Flag' work their persuasive magic effectively enough. Recommended listening for those who enjoy relaxing yet intelligent music.