Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Cat Is Back

With even more grace and collectedness following a revival from the troubled depths of her early rocker days, Cat Power is finally back with another dose of triumph and perfection.

I have every single Cat Power album and song, I'm convinced. I read as much as I possibly can about her, including her incredible biography, because I consider hers to be one of the most fascinating and moving contemporary artist stories. For anyone else in the boat of loving her madly, you'll understand that watching her progress from a disconnected, spiralling grunge protege into a courageous comeback artist who's boldly turned her back on paralyzing angst - has been an inspiring journey. Releasing "Ruin" two days ago, the first track from her upcoming September release, the first original LP in six years - I was shocked to hear the lively flow of the new material. But then again, in every way - she's more alive than she's ever been.

Power, born Chan Marshall, is in fine instrumental form - mixing proud percussion and chords, an addictively rhythmic piano loop and her coined soul sister howl. Best of all? The lyrics take a page out of her Bob Dylan cover book, particularly (my favourite) "I Believe In You" in her discussion of being turned away from home, ramblin' on and learning that the "ruins" of life actually exist all over the world. It's about finding your own peace in what you believe, not where you are. Listing her travel destinations like Expedia, her brash tone and sense of self is invigorating. 

Funnily enough, the famously attractive leading lady chopped her long pin-straight coif into a short pixie cut - a look she rocked in her earliest and most tormented days of playing stages. It could be a stretch, but similar to when she re-worked "Metal Heart" from the Moon Pix original to 2008's powerful Jukebox version, perhaps the singer's re-vamped aesthetic is another demonstration of her rebuilding, but not forgetting, her past life.

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