Album reviews : Cat Power Strikes back, claws drawn

Roze Brooks

“Sun” from Chan Marshall, or stage name Cat Power, is a reemergence from a six-year quiet period since her last album. Cat Power manages to deliver a youthful, motivating array of introspective songs with the album’s anticipated 2012 release.

With more of a pop sound than Cat Power’s previous mellow, folk-style creations, this album offers an eccentric mesh of intriguing lyrics, hum-worthy melodies and innovative instrumentals.

Marshall’s vocals are a rich, crisp foundation for each track. Her slight rasp accentuates lyrics like “Bury me marry me to the sky, if I die before my time bury me upside down,” from the opener “Cherokee.” This song holds a subtle driving force as its backbeat, incorporated nicely with the rustic feel of the entire song.

Emphasis on certain power words in each song reflect angst and conviction in the topics portrayed in the well-crafted lyrics.  The catchiest phrases come from the track, “3,6,9.” Trickling through a hypnotic percussion blend comes the chorus, “3,6,9 you drink wine, monkey on your back you feel just fine.”

Overlapping harmonious loops in each track add dimension. They create soothing yet perplexing chords.

Another track is faintly reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” paired with confrontational lyrics and upbeat percussion.

Instrumental expertise is apparent throughout the entire album, offering head-bobbing motive for every listener.

Each song seems to hold social or personal commentary with relatable issues, such as in “Ruin,” where Marshall chants “Bitchin complaining and some people ain’t got s*** to eat, bitchin’ moaning so many people you know what they ain’t got.”

“Real Life” lists several interactions with interesting characters, vocalizing, “I met a preacher he want to be sinister, I met a kid he want to be unknown.”  The track continues with perception on the ways ordinary people choose to do unordinary things.

“Nothin But Time” takes full 11-minute advantage of collaboration with Iggy Pop. This album could have further benefitted from pairing with other artists to emphasize Cat Power’s rebirth after many hardships kept Marshall from creating new music.

The track “Human Being” takes a step in this direction, telling listeners, “You got your own voice so sing, you got two hands let’s go and make anything.”  This particular track aligns with the sultry, fluid sounds of previous work from Cat Power. The overall impact proves Marshall’s versatility and open-mindedness to branch out.

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