Cat Power | Wanderer

7/10 not all those who wander are lost.

“Oh wanderer, I’ve been wondering” muses Chan Marshall – aka Cat Power – in the opening lines to her tenth album, dropped last month on the indie label Domino Records (long term label Matador having told her flat out that it just “wasn’t good enough”).

The nomadic Marshall has indeed been off the radar since 2012’s underwhelming ‘Sun’, (pretty standard for the elusive Georgian) but judging by the content of “Wanderer” it sounds like she’s been even further out there than usual. “The course my life has taken in this journey—going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale; with reverence to the people who did this generations before me…they were all wanderers, and I am lucky to be among them,” she confided in a recent interview. It’s rare thing for an artist of her experience and stature to still be doing the ‘On the Road’ thing, but “Wanderer’s” quiet strumming, ghostly piano, sparse arrangements and that smoky, husky, world-weary voice are the very essence of the American travelling troubadour.

Heralding the album’s release was its lead single “Woman”; as haunting a ballad as she’s ever recorded and doubled down by the addition of fellow chanteuse Lana Del Rey on backing vocals. It’s not the only time Marshall mines modern pop music, a threadbare version of Rihanna’s hit ‘Stay’ and a vocoder-based nod to nu-rap on ‘Horizon’ also impress.

Elsewhere, “Wanderer” does have more than dusty American highways on its mind, ‘Black’ and ‘Me Voy’ and ‘You Get’ all hint at a more European flavour, but mostly these are songs for desert campfires and deserted dive bars. A lo-fi treat delivered by an artist reveling in her own confidence.

Dan Ashcroft

Like this? Try these:

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Fallen Prom-queen gets high by the beach.

Mattiel Mattiel
Sexy D.I.Y. indie from deepest darkest Georgia.

Beth Orton Kidsticks
English folkie ratchets up the synths.

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