Imagine walking into your empty apartment after a long days work,switching on the lights,throwing your keys and bags on the couch and just crashing on the sofa to relax for a minute before the worldly worries come back to haunt you. Now imagine a soothing,poignant voice with bare,honest guitar riffs keeping you company as you sink into the depths of your sofa. The perfect comfort music.
Chan Marshall aka Cat Powers can,and has been that voice since the 90s. But with her latest album Sun,Marshall has reinvented her style. Gone are the soft,wallowing notes tinged with the sweet sounding Georgian accent. She has now moved on to more powerful and driven vocals accompanied by bold drums and synthesisers. The 40-year-old Georgian beauty well-known for her music and her theatrics on and off the stage has come up with a new album of original material after a hiatus. Her last album,The Greatest (2006) was a compilation of her original songs,followed by an album of covers,Jukebox (2008).
Produced by Marshall herself,Sun,as an album is surprisingly sparse,with only a basic accompaniment of drums,synth and piano,complemented by Marshalls powerful vocals. The album begins with Cherokee,where Marshall sings When Im,Im going down / Feels like time is on my time / Bury me upside down/ Cherokee,kissing me/ When Im,Im going down to the rhythm of soft drums and synth. Sun is a more upbeat number also darker in a way with Marshalls voice recorded several times over,to produce an effect of multiple voice layers. Its dark,pop and meaningful all at the same time.
Ruin is one of the highlights,with Marshalls voice perfectly complementing the dark corners with strange percussion and electronic sounds,as she croons about lifes vagaries. But one of our favourites is Manhattan,a bitter-sweet number that talks about love,heartbreaks and moving on in the context of the city. The lyrics are mystifying as well,as Marshall says,Dont look at the moon tonight/ Youll never be never be never be Manhattan.
Marshall has definitely treated Sun as her major comeback,post her breakup with the actor Giovanni Ribisi. But if you are looking for some company in those wee hours of night,go ahead,take Cat Power for a spin. She will make you sway,make you think and keep you company.