From out of the clear blue sky, yesterday Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, announced her imminent return with a new album called Sun (due out Tues., Sept. 4, in the US via Matador Records). It's her first album of new Cat Power songs since The Greatest was released back in 2006, and Marshall produced played all of the instruments herself. The whole thing came together in a handful of locations around the country, including her part-time home Miami, and in a new studio that she's built in Malibu, Cali.
"Ruin" is the album's first single, and it signifies a stylistic shift for Marshall, which has become something of a routine at this point.
From the song's opening drum and piano plod, there's a buoyancy to the song strays from her subtle excursions into Southern pop and soul that she conjured via The Greatest, or the fantastic anxiety/melancholy of Moon Pix, You are Free, et al. What Marshall really excels at here is draping her lazy summer croon over an expansive sound that's mildly unearthly, and heavy on both intimacy and atmosphere.
It's just one song, though. Marshall's albums have long revealed layers of depth as more time passes, so it's too early to start making predictions about the round of accomplishments she has in store with this forthcoming album. But if "Ruins," and even the album's title suggest anything it's that she's synthesizing all of those brittle and reflective qualities that have come to define her songwriting into a singular staccato sound that's a bit too austere to simply call it "pop" music, but breezy enough to suggest that she has a bright album looming just over the horizon.
Sun track list
"Always On My Own"
"Nothin' But Time"
"Peace And Love"
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