Cat Power
Sun


4.0
excellent

Review

by Rudy K. STAFF
August 24th, 2012 | 36 replies | 11,297 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chan Marshall finds her way back from the ledge.

One listen to Sun and you’d never know that here is an album that almost didn’t get made. “Bitchin’, complainin,’ when some people who ain’t got *** to eat / bitchin,’ moanin,’ so many people you know they got,” goes the lead-in to the chorus on first single “Ruin,” and that, of course, sounds just like Chan Marshall, but certainly not in this context. The sound is lush, a Glass-ian keyboard motif circling up around that ricocheting guitar line and a propulsive funk rhythm suitable to get lost in. “Cherokee,” too, reveling in some haunting electronic textures and that wonderful “whumpf” sound that accompanies Marshall’s pained entreaties to “bury me, marry me to the sky.” It’s unlike anything Cat Power has put to record in her long career, which has been as bleak as it has been impressive over twenty years. What Sun does resemble, however, should be welcome news to any fans of her work: a new beginning.

Marshall’s last album of original material, 2006’s The Greatest, was the perfect snapshot, a painstakingly rendered mosaic of ‘60s soul, gospel, and delta blues, mired in the sepia-toned pop of her Memphis childhood home. “Home” being a relevant term, of course; Marshall’s father was a traveling blues musician who moved his daughter all around the South with him. It’s something that permeates Marshall’s work even here, where traditional sing-a-long “3,6,9” tackles that old blues trope, the monkey on your back, in four quick, painful minutes. That monkey nearly derailed Marshall’s career after The Greatest, leading to hospitalization and bankruptcy, and it’s that long road back that Sun so succinctly details. Where The Greatest seemed as grief-stricken and world-weary as its influences, Sun is remarkably uptempo, utilizing her new affinity for electronic beats and bubbling atmospherics to great effect. Marshall has said in interviews that recording and producing the album almost entirely by herself helped her get away from the second guessing and encouraged her to try new things, the synthesizer in particular. It fits nicely with Marshall’s smoky, soulful voice, and her lyrics, which zip hopefully from the melancholy Native American imagery in opener “Cherokee” to climax “Nothin But Time.” Bloated as it is at nearly eleven minutes long and even featuring the patron saint of self-destruction, Iggy Pop, it never fails to soar, taking the record’s theme of inner peace to its logical, ringing conclusion.

Perhaps it took a while for Marshall to find herself, but Sun is unerringly confident in its adventuring, even when it stumbles. “Peace and Love,” with Marshall in venomous confrontation mode, seems out of place after the triumphant “Nothin But Time,” and “Real Life” never develops much of a hook beyond its warped production. Yet Sun remains, beyond a mere reaffirmation of Marshall’s renewed mental outlook, a fine endorsement of Cat Power’s often overlooked prowess as a songwriter and producer, embellishing the contours of each individual track while strengthening her own voice. “Manhattan” places the onus solely on Marshall’s lovely vocals, painting a desolate picture of New York City over a spartan beat and some jittery drum fills, while “Always On My Own’s” multi-tracked fog is appropriately eerie. Throughout it all, Marshall seems more intrepid than she has been in over a decade and in turn more inspired, without sacrificing any of that emotional immediacy she has been known for. It’s been a long road back, but Sun is a rewarding return to a new Cat Power, one who seems more at ease with her music and herself than ever before. The greatest reward, though, will be seeing where she goes from here.



Recent reviews by this author
First Aid Kit Stay GoldLily Allen Sheezus
Woods With Light And With LoveEels The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett
Tokyo Police Club ForcefieldThe War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
user ratings (75)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Veda (3)
Marshall finds the silver lining, but the cloud still hangs....


Comments:Add a Comment 
klap
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2012



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good year for female singer-songwriters

http://klap4music.com/images/cat-power.jpeg

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Ire
August 24th 2012



41749 Comments


123

will find time for this

Jash
August 24th 2012



4244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ive been rocking this so hard the past month, her best work to date by far.

Spare
August 24th 2012



5252 Comments


there's a new cat power record? what ok cool

Digging: Radiator Hospital - Torch Song

Chrisjon89
August 24th 2012



3364 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'll check it out when it drops. i like some of her stuff, especially Moon Pix.

Digging: Ichiko Aoba - 0%

FelixCulpa
August 24th 2012



1237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Didn't come in with any expectations from this album and I was pleasantly surprised. It's a great album. Nice review as well Klap. Did you read the pitckfork cover story?

amanwithahammer
August 24th 2012



396 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

YEAH

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
August 24th 2012



23798 Comments


i can't believe i haven't but yeah, i've never listened to Cat Power. ill start with this I guess.

auberginedreams
August 24th 2012



5989 Comments


i've only listened to a few songs by her.

Spare
August 24th 2012



5252 Comments


first 4 albums are all great, you are free is alright, rest are ok

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2012



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i did read the pitchfork interview it was good

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2012



10003 Comments


Wow, this chick's adorable.

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

auberginedreams
August 24th 2012



5989 Comments


she looks younger than 40.

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2012



3342 Comments


Nice review, this sounds like one of those beautiful albums that I don't particularly care for, like the new Fiona Apple album. May check it out but I doubt it.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm surprised no one's started shitting on the new Owl City album yet.

klap
Staff Reviewer
August 24th 2012



10258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i have not had the pleasure of listening to the new owl city yet, but regarding the fiona apple comparison, this is much more fleshed out production

Alxander19
August 24th 2012



123 Comments


I enjoyed this and really loved Real Life and Nothin But Time. Haven't settled on a rating yet, but probably like a 4. First Cat Power album I've listened to as well.

auberginedreams
August 26th 2012



5989 Comments


well "hi buddy" to you too! it sure is nice to have some polite folks around here for a change!

Spare
August 26th 2012



5252 Comments


heya pal

oubli
August 27th 2012



67 Comments


I'm going to check this out

camaraderie
August 27th 2012



988 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

She's great.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy