Singer/multi-instrumentalist Chan Marshall set loose a pair of striking singles this month to bolster “Sun,” her first original album in six years, showing no signs of her dark dynamism diluting. Her wispy wintry vocals, an eerie blend of sultry and stark, seemed to get a bit more sanguine this time around, with reviewers/rock-crits reverberating remarks upon her fragile/fractured persona appearing to have girded over the years into a new, fierce resolve (bad break-ups can do that, I guess). It’s a refresh, a wake-up call, a get-back out there and, hey, pick-up-some-synthesizers-while-you’re-out – we’ve got a new, weird, sublime, beat-percolating little album to make here.

Have you dug deep enough into this, by now? I’ve been re-spinning the inevitable elephant-in-the-album’s-room, the swaying 11-minute anthem “Nothing But Time,” with it’s tranquil-ish rock-beat and marching pianos, synths breezing by past your sides as Marshall’s encouraging, soaring-lullaby vocals seem to coax an iridescent new sunrise over the song’s horizon. This is the new Cat Power everyone’s talking about – a new turn for the edgy, erratic introvert, this singed violet finding a new bloom in the throaty refrain “You wanna LIVE,” as harmonized in the quavering cameo-croon of Ypsi’s own Iggy Pop. That’s one way to close an album: a spurring song-that-almost-never-ends-and-yet-you-still-listen-to-the-whole-thing. It’s not something you’d put on any ol’ time, and eventually it’ll probably ring as cheesy/schmaltzy – but damn it if it’s not, initially, a picker-upper. How’s that for a twist in a Cat Power record?

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Jeff Milo
Jeff Milo
Jeff is another awesome member of the iSPY team.