The making of this record has been one of the most arduous in the history of the recording industry. Plagued by illness, creative differences, writers block, and just time, Chan Marshall, a.k.a. Cat Power is back after six years with, what could be, the most important set of tracks in her discography. For Sun, Cat Power’s seventh set of all new original material, Marshall changed up the playing field a little bit, delving into the world of electronics. Seems to be the popular trend right? Wrong; in this case, Chan’s ability to make it seem natural puts everybody to shame. Welcome, to the biggest payoff the music industry has ever seen, and that’s not a bad thing by any means.
The Recording of the album began shortly after The Greatest was released, this also turned into Marshall’s most trying time. Plagued with health problems, financial problems, and in a fight for creative control. After failed recording sessions with her band, Chan basically started from scratch, scrapping most of what she had, tinkering with electronics, and pushing her music in a new direction. After listening to Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2, she enlisted the help of Philippe Zdar, and thus the album started to finally take shape.
In terms of do-it-yourself music, venturing into areas unknown, the probability of failure is high. Despite loving WZRD’s debut album, it’s not very successful on the face of it. It’s Chan’s conviction that really comes through the stereo, and her resolve not to settle. And in doing so has created some of the most natural sounding electronic flourishes and beats, ever to make it to wax. That’s not an overstatement, it’s just fact.
“Cherokee” is a bit deceptive, as the track opens with a light guitar and drum track, the song eventually hits into the chorus, and that fateful moment sets in, will this work? The payoff, and it works gloriously, without falter. The drums become skittery of sorts, and further on down the keyboards really come full circle. It’s never contrite, never over-thought, it’s just a natural progression, with feeling, thought, and fueled by angst at the death of the old world, while the new is corruptable.
The album’s title track kicks in with a sinister sensibility; “here it comes…here comes the sun” greets the listener to a new experience, however, that down trodden nature is still present in the melody. Furthering it more is the abundance of foot stopming sounds, tracks like “Ruin” and “Silent Machine” are great to dance to. Those tender moments, “Human Being” for instance; the groove delivers a straight laced message of human rights and never settling. An anthem, among others on this record.
If the revitalization of the soul is real, then Chan Marshall is the epitome of it. I may be partial to DIY music, but this is something above and beyond that, to the full of creation, and what music is supposed to be. Finding that median nerve between thought provoking and entertaining can be difficult, Chan cuts through that with a samurai sword, and you’re watching the debris, falling in slow motion all around you. It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful, it’s tragic, it’s human. It’s hard to classify, and that’s why this review is as scatter-brained as it is.
Rating: Buy it on CD or Vinyl; your choice, but you need to own this in physical form, it’s so awesome!
Listening Co-efficient: Active Listening
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