sun 12/07/2020

CD: Cat Power - Wanderer | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cat Power - Wanderer

CD: Cat Power - Wanderer

Chan Marshall’s tenth album is a haunting thing of great beauty

Wanderer: offering some hope of redemption

Wanderer is Chan Marshall’s tenth album in almost 25 years under the guise of Cat Power and it is a thing of haunting beauty that suggests that she won’t be running out of steam anytime soon. Mellow piano and guitar ballads flavoured with Chan’s sultry vocals take in folk and blues atmospherics with a production that is sparser than her 2006 breakout album The Greatest but considerably more lush than the lo-fi freak folk sound of her early tunes on the likes of 1996’s What Would The Community Think?

Wanderer is moreish indeed, suggesting a sound that Lana Del Rey, who guests on recent single “Woman”, might aim for if she wasn’t so self-conscious and prone to gimmicky collaborations. From the old school, traditional folk of the title track to Nico Segal’s understated trumpet that brings “Wanderer/Exit” to a close, Wanderer is an album that hints at the dynamics of Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake at their best without ever slipping into parody. Even if a bit of variation wouldn’t hurt.

While the Cat Power back catalogue may include a bucket-load of cover versions, Wanderer is largely made up of originals, with the lone exception of a reasonably straight take on Rihanna’s plaintive piano ballad “Stay”. “You Get” has a lush folkie sound with a jazzy groove, while “In Your Face” adds a taste of Beatnik bongo percussion. “Robbin Hood” and “Nothing Really Matters” take on dealing with a world full of duplicity and hopelessness over warm and mellow sounds. However, while previous Cat Power albums may have been accused of wallowing in misery, Wanderer offers comfort and some hope of redemption. In fact, with wet and cold autumn evenings fast approaching, Wanderer could just be what’s needed to help warm the soul while we wait for the return of the sun.

Wanderer is an album that hints at the dynamics of Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake at their best without ever slipping into parody

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Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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