Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Album review: Sun - Cat Power

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Album cover for Sun by Cat Power. Photo / Supplied
Album cover for Sun by Cat Power. Photo / Supplied

The stories around Cat Power - her hard-partying ways, her depression, her fragility - have always been part of her appeal. She manages to mix her feminine allure with the other-wordliness of a reckless rock star, and fans love it.

But it's her voice that has kept everyone coming back for more, her potential to deliver soulful, stirring songs.

Her first album of originals in six years, Sun is the product of Power working entirely on her own. Unlike 2006's The Greatest, which had a real southern Memphis flavour, Sun sees Power choosing synths, piano, beats, guitar and beautiful vocal layers as her main palette, creating a rather electronic soundscape.

It's more jubilant, less tortured than her previous releases, and it's strong - even if she's still a little heartbroken and still singing about death.

There are the catchy Ruin, with its oscillating piano patterns, the propulsive rhythms of Cherokee, and the grooving swagger of 3,6,9 which once again declare her as a strong pop writer.

Always On My Own is heartfelt and haunting, and Silent Machine is a harder, bluesy number reminiscent of The Dead Weather.

But then she finishes off with Nothin But Time - a 10-minute aural wash with guest vocals from Iggy Pop, and Peace & Love, which unfortunately feels a little haphazard.

So it's a cool, colourful trip, rather than profound, but seems to demonstrate a musician who's found some self-acceptance, and is happy to be in control.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Cat's got her groove back.
Buy Cat Power's new album Sun, here.


- NZ Herald

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