Cate Le Bon – Crab Day
"A coalition of inescapable feelings and fabricated nonsense," reckons Cate Le Bon of her fourth album. Difficult to argue: Crab Day is a madcap wonder, and if its singular aesthetic is ultimately less an advancement of the vision and more a honing of the craft, its offbeat artistry is way beyond the everyday humdrum.
Those doleful vocals are still Le Bon's unmistakable trademark and, set against her teeter-totter arrangements (clipped, dry guitars; jerky rhythms; puckish horns), they support a rich and intrepid musicality. Crab Day, like its predecessor (the staggering Mug Museum), is underpinned by a bold stoicism far removed from calculable, sweetened melodics. Yet, when it really sparks, as on the mesmerising coda of eight-minute closer What's Not Mine or We Might Revolve (a spare, insistent pummel that recalls the fidgety formalism of early Throwing Muses), it yields an emotional resonance that is difficult to deny and impossible to resist. [Gary Kaill]