Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2013-11-11

For a folk singer-songwriter from Wales, Cate Le Bon does a good job of avoiding being what you'd traditionally expect. Her third album, Mug Museum, a psychedelic pop record which blows between hazy wigouts and 60s Parisian pop, is an upwards move for her.

The last statements needs quantifying; take a listen to album opener 'I Can't Help You' or it's slinking follow up 'Are You With Me Now?'. You can just see her lounging outstretched in a hotel in Paris, taking a long drag on a cigarette. While her voice only seems to have one tone and level of volume, she can hold your attention just through the sheer originality of her accent. Tom Jones never actually sounds Welsh when he sings, so hearing Cate Le Bon feels much like she's singing songs written by Serge Gainsbourg.

Guitars chatter across this album while the bass bosses its way through the heart of everything. It has mixed results. At times it sounds like she's playing with Franz Ferdinand in a haunted mansion for songs such as 'Sisters', providing a much needed injection of pace, but some songs plod without much other than the intro to make you sit up and take notice.

'Duke' would fall into this category if it weren't for the cart-wheeling pre-chorus of "I don't know how we have come to function so far away/ drifting and directless with the compass we've made". And it's that which tips this album in her favour. Her flashes of spiralling madness in the lyrics as well as her tone will make you feel like you're looking into her eyes.

This isn't an album of pumping, driving anthems or sit-in-the-dark introspective poems. It will be a little too poppy for some ('I Think I Knew', featuring Perfum Genius) and a little too psychedelic and spaced out for others, as on 'Mirror Me' and 'Cuckoo Through the Walls'. The mundain yelp of "wild...wild...wild" on 'Wild' might make you want to switch off but stick with it.

This effort strikes you as the sound of an artist truly flexing her different muscles, seeing which one will give her the greatest advantage in a scrap. With such ragged-sounding guitars, you'd be surprised at how smooth this album is. There is the gentle lapping of synthesizer on the shores of her voice, and 'Mug Museum' has her creaking on a piano stool, with intermittent sustained drops on the keys.

Here is a young lady making her slow climb, and while this album doesn't scream sheer brilliance it can haunt your brain with a black-and-white impression of her lost in the streets, Technicolor blobs of pink and red surrounding her, as shown on the album art. Let the boozy brass section of 'Mug Museum' usher you into just another spin.

Comments (19)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

That's such an insightful article. Just excellent. I think Strange must have alienated a few people though to have such a sharp dip in fortune.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'm quite sentimental about that period in the U.K though because I adopted the fashions and went to the dance clubs playing that stuff. It was pub rock otherwi

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks! Yeah well there's lot of stories about him, Boy George and others during that period isn't there. Lots of 'big personalities', shall we say.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'm sentimental about it too, even though I wasn't even born in 1980.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You just look back and see how all these talented, creative, bonkers people were able to become pop stars and then you look at today

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

where Taylor Swift is considered an interesting pop star. Nothing particular against her but I mean God it's dull!

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Yeah. Self awareness/ego is always part of it, but is the sheer narcissism and presumptuousness of talent which galls

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

but the social media laps it up, and turns them into oversized brats

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I was under drinking age, but wearing baggy trousers, ashram orange shirt, yoga shoes and copper streaked semi-hawk, my age was largely indeterminate !

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Well they were just copying Bowie but they didn't have his talent or intellect and they didn't notice that it almost destroyed him

There are no comments posted here yet
Load More
Related Articles
Cate Le Bon - Mug Museum - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab
DRINKS - Hippo Lite
  • 03/22/2018
  • By Bill Golembeski