Cat Power The Greatest

Cat Power The Greatest
Right from the announcement of this slyly confident album title and first single, fans could tell things may be a little different. Where was the Chan Marshall who hid behind her hair and personified awkwardness and emotional devastation? Apparently whooping it up in Memphis with old soul men. This progression is really no surprise as Marshall has always had a thing for old blues and soul singers, as heard in the covers on You Are Free and The Covers Record. With this record, though, she’s ditched the barebones approach and surrounded her simmering passion with Al Green’s trumpet players and rhythm section. While the bouncy trumpets in "Could We” are a little hard to swallow, Marshall’s voice and songwriting have never been sharper. The title track builds the best gap between the old Chan and this new incarnation with its slow build and vocal intensity. The true wonder here though is "Willie” — the muted instrumentation and shuffling guitars all surround the classic Chan intimacy, here illuminated by sublimely layered vocals, making the whole endeavour enthralling. Such departures from the past are rarely found and even rarer are they fulfilled with such grace and confidence. Artistic maturity is, for once, a phrase that is fully applicable. (Matador)