Cat Power


BY Andrea WarnerPublished Sep 24, 2012

It took six years for Cat Power's Sun to rise and the wait was worth it. It's gloriously fractured, just like singer/songwriter Chan Marshall, with one foot far back in her performance-art-meets-Southern-soul past and another firmly planted in a future of electro-dance, digital experimentation. Sun is a sampling of sounds previously only found on the mixtape in Marshall's mind and it must be freeing, if frightening, to release it into the world. The Latin/global vibe of "Ruin" could become a massive club hit if it were written by anybody else. Recorded primarily by herself, Marshall has layered her voice again and again, to almost dizzying effect, particularly on "Real Life," which juxtaposes robotic, glitchy textures with gut-punch confessions like, "Real life is ordinary/sometimes you don't want to live." In contrast, "Manhattan" sounds positively cheery; it's a keys- and drum-driven pop ditty with an urgent beat driving the tension as Marshall cautions, "Don't look at the moon tonight/You'll never be, never be Manhattan." The penultimate track, the '80s-inspired "Nothin' But Time," proves the most beguiling and telling, making evident what all of Marshall's fans know: she lives by her own rules and speaks her own language. What makes Sun so exquisite is that Marshall finally sounds in control of her chaos. This might just be the dawn of a new Cat Power.
(Matador Records)

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