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Cat Power, ‘Ruin’ – Song Review

Matador Records
Matador Records

So this is what the next phase of Cat Power‘s evolution is going to sound like, huh?

From the unsettled, low-fidelity dirges that hinted at her future as one of the great, contemporary singer-songwriters to her smoky flirtation with ’60s Memphis soul, Chan Marshall’s inclinations toward slow reinvention have been the defining talking point of her career. Now, with the upcoming release of ‘Sun,’ her first album of original material since 2006’s ‘The Greatest,’ and its debut single, ‘Ruin,’ it sounds like Marshall is driving the Cat Power moniker into a whole new direction — one that reflects her recent globe-hopping.

It’s not just the verses of the song which consist of Marshall shouting out a list of countries she’s visited, or her calling out people (or herself) for being “b—in’/ Complainin’/ When some people ain’t got s— to eat,” it’s the looping piano line that fuses Philip Glass and Antonio Carlos Jobim and a bass line that nods toward Casablanca Records and Euro-House.

It’s an organic, unpretentious groove that compliments her more mature vocals and, for that matter, vocal stylings that find Marshall having a bit of percussive fun with her instrument.

Also, it’s our first taste of what Marshall is capable of when manning the producer’s booth. Exciting stuff.

Cat Power ends her long absence on September 4 with the release of ‘Sun’ on Matador Records. Consider us aglow.

Listen to Cat Power, ‘Ruin’

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9 out of 10 rating

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