Cat Power Postpones European Tour, Cites Illness

88 Billboard Rating

CAT POWER
"Sun"
Matador Records
Release date: September 4
Producer: Chan Marshall
Rating: 88

In the unlikely event that anyone reading this review doesn't already know, "Sun" is Cat Power's first album of original material in six years and was recorded in the wake of singer Chan Marshall's breakup with her boyfriend of four years, actor Giovanni Ribisi. The latter fact probably informs the sound of this album more than the former: After the Memphis-spawned warmth of 2006's "The Greatest" and the follow-up covers album "Jukebox," this one is darker -- pretty but often brittle and angular like her earlier albums. There are several upbeat tracks ("Cherokee," "Ruin," "Manhattan") but it's also often eerie, with loads of echo and dark corners with strange percussion and electronic sounds. It's also deceptively sparse: There are often few instruments but Marshall has piled on so many vocal overdubs that the songs sound much bigger than they actually are (the overdubs may be another reason why this album took so long!). "Sun" isn't as cuddly as "The Greatest," but it finds Marshall continuing to evolve as an artist in intriguing and unexpected ways.

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