Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cat Power: "Sun" (album review)

No matter how many female musicians come and go, there really has been no one who can fill the shoes of Chan Marshall.  With Sun, her first album of original material in six years, she comes to retake her place with Cat Power.  The record comes out on September 4th.

While other notable female artists have taken extended time off with middling results (Fiona Applle), there's a renewed vibrancy to these Cat Power tracks.  "Cherokee", with it's native American theme, is one of the fullest, most fleshed out arrangements in Marshall's canon.

The title track uses previously unexplored (for Marshall anyway) electronic swoops which juxtapose with her typically hushed vocals.  "Ruin" brings a disco energy to the proceedings, mapping dark textures on top.  An electronic hum buzzes on the underside of "Always On My Own".

A sunnier side is presented on "Manhattan".  One would be forgiven for mistaking the more upbeat synths and loops for some Wolf Parade output.  "Nothing But Time" is the record's hopeful number.

There aren't a lot of rockers on Sun.  One exception is the bluesy "3, 6, 9", built on a Jack White-style romp.  All heck breaks loose with the powerful epic "Peace And Love".

As much as I love Marshall's lovely voice and morose songs, it really does serve her well to branch out from time-to-time.  On Sun she does just that, proving she's far more than a Mope Rock superstar.

Cat Power plays the Kool Haus in Toronto on October 20th.

Best tracks: "Cherokee", "Peace And Love"

Track listing for Sun:
  • Cherokee
  • Sun
  • Ruin
  • 3, 6, 9
  • Always On My Own
  • Real Life
  • Human Being
  • Manhattan
  • Silent Machine
  • Nothing But Time
  • Peace And Love

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