Review Summary: Marshall finds the silver lining, but the cloud still hangs.
And The Sun has Risen
In the six years since The Greatest album she ever created, Chan Marshall has gone through bankruptcy, foreclosure, alcohol abuse, suicidal tendencies, psychiatric help for the same and at least one more of her infamous break ups.
So when her ex commented that the material she was working on sounded like “depressing old Cat Power”, she took an eight month break, and then proceeded to try and find the shining Sun, that was supposedly hidden behind those grey clouds. And like the hero who has nothing to lose and is thus unstoppable, Cat shows us the Power of free falling to the bottom. There’s only one way left.
But when a niche artist evolves her traditional acoustic and blues roots into a synth heavy, new wave style sound (sometimes even accompanied by auto-tune), there is undoubtedly a risk of alienating or disappointing a sizeable chunk of her admirers.
Even they though, will be hard pressed to object to the tones of Ruin- Sun’s lead single. Opening with a piano riff that instantly hooks you in and is maintained throughout the pop—rockish song, this piece can instantly put a spring in your step thanks to its rhythm. The chorus could have accounted for more though, and may be a bit anti-climactic to the more the
Almost the opposite happens in Cherokee- the first song on the album . A mid-tempo intro culminates into a faster paced chorus, though the melancholy that is undoubtedly present throughout the album (both lyrically and musically) is more apparent here. And speaking of choruses, Marshall makes heavy use of dubbing her voice in as many hooks as possible, making her seem like a new singer altogether.
In fact in ‘Peace and Love’,- the albums last piece-she tilts so much towards grunge- pop, that one is transported to the heydays of Alanis Morisette, when she was on that Jagged Little Pill.
Chan also departs from her otherwise dark or heavy lyrics with very simple and straightforward ones, which may well make some of her (previous") fans cringe. She used her up retirement funds for this album, and in almost childlike manner, this girl either wants everything, or nothing(“ bury me/marry me to the sky”).
Like many before her, Marshall’s pursuit of happiness has ended up on the other side of the same coin. One cannot define joy in the absence of sorrow. This rising Sun is perhaps hidden by one too many a cloud to leave your musical palette satisfied, but it will tingle it enough to wait for her, until next time.