Wales has a strong tradition of pop music, serving as the homeland to such performers as Tom Jones, John Cale, Dave Edmunds, Bonnie Tyler, Super Furry Animals, Jem and Duffy. The latest is this long line is Cardiff-based singer/songwriter Cate Le Bon, who returns for a sophomore album that has quickly become a station favorite.
Having been taken under the wing of Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals with her debut recordings in 2007, Le Bon comes into her own on Cyrk. Not unlike the seemingly unwieldy Welsh language itself (which Le Bon occasionally sings in), her languid, lurching, unhurried rhythms and flat vocal delivery mask crafty melodies that ultimately coalesce and sneakily insinuate themselves in the listener’s earbuds.
On songs such as the album’s first single, “Puts Me to Work,” she muses on the foibles of memory in her heavily-accented tone, all set to a musical sea-saw ride, complete with Ray Davies-like backing vocals and an insisting, plonking piano. Taking these subtle cues from the Velvet Underground and the Kinks and meshing them with the modern indie rock sounds of Stephen Malkmus and St. Vincent, Cyrk makes a strong claim for 2012’s first breakthough album.
by KCRW DJ Eric J. Lawrence
Cyrk be available to stream on demand from Januray 9 through January 24, 2012. The album will be released January 17, 2012.