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Cat Power: The Greatest


Cat Power: The Greatest

Label:Matador
Format:Album
Media:CD
Release Date:2006
Genre:Singer/Songwriter (Rock/Pop)

By Anthony Miccio | Posted 3/8/2006

The hype on the new Cat Power album is that Chan Marshall has hooked up with some Memphis soul vets, helping the depression doyenne create her least schizophrenic album to date. For Cat Power, it’s been a gradual evolution through backing bands, starting with the rhythm section from Jad Fair’s Mosquito, followed by a sojourn with the tempestuous Dirty Three, and mostly recently guest spots from Eddie Vedder and Dave Grohl. With all due respect to the D3’s stunning stumbles, The Greatest’s band (which includes Teenie and Leroy “Flick” Hodges, among other “played with Al Green” types) does work up the most casually effective grooves of Marshall’s career, a lightly rollicking country-soul that never falls into indie ineptitude or NPR sterility.

Marshall, on the other hand, somehow manages to achieve both negative poles at the same time. Unless your affection for slack romance forgives sad-bad usage of flower-rain-heart-horse imagery, Marshall’s Liz-Fraser-on-ludes vocals don’t reward the strain it takes to comprehend them; Beth Orton enunciates like a Rent cast member in comparison. These pleasant shuffles are mainly the property of folks who get off on her lackadaisical cracked croon as sound alone. There are plenty who’d love to have her lazy luster hanging around without actually catching what she just said, and with music this flowing and graceful, it’s no surprise the Starbucks set gave The Greatest a Top 50 pop debut.

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