It’s been a long wait but Chan Marshall as Cat Power has come back fighting with a strong, independent and powerful sounding record. Six years since her last album of original material and having experienced turmoil in her personal life, Sun, her ninth studio album is vibrant, full of energy and life. This is a record showing a woman who is very much in control on all levels, having produced the album herself and played all the instruments. You can hear from the arrangements that she was very comfortable making this record as it has a wonderful flow to it. Marshall’s songwriting is also stronger than ever, it’s beautifully tender and descriptive. This record sees Marshall pursuing an electronic sound with the use of synths and drum machines, which suits her as it helps to bring these songs to life. Her voice has this wonderful natural husky tone to it that I find mesmerizing. It draws you into listening to the songs, which is something she has a great talent for as her performance on Sun shows.
The album kicks off with Cherokee, a song that touches on the subject of death but doesn’t come across as morbid; it’s more about putting things to rest. The tracks Ruin, 3,6,9 and Peace And Love show Marshall at her best, with catchy lyrics and great rhythm. Human Being is a hauntingly beautiful record that gives off a soulful blues vibe and is lyrically one of the best tracks on the album, whilst the glorious Manhattan is a track that takes you to where [Power is, just by listening. It’s a record that makes you think of nighttime shadows, their secrets and the moonlight guiding you. During the inspirational sounding Nothin’ But Time, Marshall sings “It’s up to you to be a superhero”, backed by Iggy Pop as if he was her mentor. It’s a track that makes you think of Bowie but is uniquely Cat Power at the same time.
Sun is a testament to Marshall. She has overcome her troubles and has created a record that cannot be ignored and one that stands out as an important artistic piece of work. She has evolved creatively by changing direction and pushing forward with a sound that is bold, fresh and uplifting.