Cate Le Bon: Cyrk

B+

Cate Le Bon

Album: Cyrk
Label: The Control Group

Somewhere in the air above Wales there’s a sonic trap tuned to collect whatever errant strains of the psychedelic ’70s still tumble through the atmosphere. These are funneled into a still, and converted into the nectar that bands like Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci have been drunk on since the ’90s. But there’s a new face at the font—Cardiff’s Cate Le Bon, who sings like Nico over a score that could’ve been produced by Os Mutantes in their prime. Cyrk is her second LP, and it’s rife with blurting guitar, tweaky percussion, interjecting organ, and rolling drums, not to mention the occasional mournful trumpet solo set to formless orchestra noise. It’s a lot of loose rhythms and knotted nostalgia, but while her peers would spend an album weaving in and out of proverbial rabbit holes, Le Bon’s kaleidoscope is firmly focused. 

She’s also learned from other travelers. “Puts Me To Work” sounds like Of Montreal minus the mania, and the dissonant notes of “Julia” cut her Krautrock tendencies with a little Pavement posture. Best of all, however, is the unadulterated throwback porn—songs like “Falcon Eyed” and “Cyrk.” While the former drops the listener into the middle of a party well-stocked with powders and polyester, the latter saunters like a woman in a sundress, dragging her fingers through a waist-high field. Though Le Bon claims to write her music in the dark, and her 2009 debut Me Oh My was markedly death-obsessed, Cyrk is a bright, airy affair. “I’ve always loved the movement of the trees,” she sings on the titular track, “Find me a place where I can watch the breeze.” It’s worth staying awhile.

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