I liked but didn’t love What Would the Community Think?. That was my first Cat Power album. I don’t remember it much now. But my impressions of this one seem very different if I’m to go by the review I wrote for its predecessor.
I like Marshall’s songs. She has a strong, if idiosyncratic, sense of melody, though her tempos often make it seem like she has less of a strong sense than she does. (The cover of “Moonshiner” is not my favourite but it’s distinct, which I prefer.)
I think the reason I didn’t love the previous record was that I didn’t necessarily connect with her lyrics (that’s just a guess though). Here I feel like they are definitely above average but, again, I find them of the type which I appreciate but where they don’t quite resonate with me at the level of my favourite songwriters. That’s not her fault, it’s just me. I do find that, especially with some styles of indie, it sometimes takes me a long time to warm up to the lyrics. I could always find myself viewing her as a great songwriter later on. Maybe I just need to listen to more of her records.
What I really like are the arrangements. They’re maybe a little more consistent, if I remember, than the last record, and that is often a drawback for me as I like my variety. But in this case I think they really work and I like when the flute appears. They do remind me a titch of Bonnie Prince Billy in their pacing and sparseness but Marshall is such a different songwriter that I don’t think that matters.
And I like the production. You’d think that this very ’90s indie sound would have dated by now but I don’t think it has. To me it sounds rather timeless.
I need to listen to more of her records.
PS “Colors And the Kids” is probably my favourite.