CATE LE BON

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MUG MUSEUM, WICHITA RECORDINGS

Hailing from Wales, Cate Le Bon’s deep, accented vocals vaguely recall those of Nico of Velvet Underground fame. Her previous album Cyrk was one of my favourites last year, and this one is just as bizarre and upbeat.

It’s the type of record where, if you put it on for a room of people, it makes for chipper background ambiance, but then, every so often, it slips into some kind of hyper foray that causes a silence and curious glances. That said, it weaves some unconventionality into rock foundations and some interesting layers of experimentation emerge. Quiet periods ramp into powerful crescendos where the structure disintegrates or sometimes falls slightly out of tune. It might take a few listens, but it grows on you — great shower sing-along potential.

The later tracks in this arrangement are actually a bit better than the earlier ones, though it starts off more energetic. It goes from a fair bit of repetition to a little more consciously put-together lyrical content, and then the title track is last. Favourites are “Are You With Me Now,” “Wild,” “Sisters” and “Mirror Me,” which balance her frolicking enthusiasm with mindful harmonies.

She has toured with acts like Gruff Rhys, Super Furry Animals and Manic Street Preachers. Right now she has dates booked with Basia Bulat as an opener, but nothing has been announced for Canada until at least March.

By Cait Lepla

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