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This Weekend I’ll Mostly be Listening to…Cate Le Bon October 15, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

If you want songs in both Welsh and English look no further than Cate Le Bon. If you want songs that have that Velvet Underground/Nico edge, look no further than Cate Le Bon. And should you like an hint of Television as well… Well, you get the picture. She’s worked with Manic Street Preachers, Neon Neon and a raft of others.

This is a fairly crowded part of the musical world, after near enough a half century, and yet Le Bon brings something new to the feast. It’s there’s in her accent, the vocals often seem detached and dispassionate, particularly when set against the the often atonal though on occasion melodic jangle of guitars that she provides, but then they switch to something almost confessional. The terms haunting are often used in connection with her music, but edgy is equally appropriate – some pretty high notes are hit at times, and it’s odd how – for example, small touches of sax or clarinet here and there add rather than dilute that edginess. I’m reminded of Swell Maps, the Slits, Madness – yeah, even Madness. There’s a control here – listen to Wonderful from her last album, Crab Day, (which seems to reference Romeo Void very very tangentially), it’s not a pop song but in a way it really is. Sure, it’s pretentious in places, but there’s also a sense of humour at work that undercuts that pretension.

The lyrics slip in and out of meaningfulness, I see that she has said how they came after the songs were written – but sometimes they are completely clear and hit home with that clarity. There’s a lot going on and the songs are relatively short bar the excellent What’s Not Mine which closes the album at a bit over seven minutes.

She plays Dublin next week. I hope to get along. Looking forward to it.

Crab Day

Love is Not Love


We Might revolve (live)

What’s Not Mine (live)


1. rockroots - October 15, 2016

Cate Le Bon is fantastic. I see a clear shift from her earlier, weird-and-wonderful, Kevin Ayers whimsy-type, very British albums to the more conventional music she’s been making since she moved to the States, and yet I love it all. This could come straight off the Modern Lovers’ new wave LP:


WorldbyStorm - October 15, 2016

+1 BTW are you going to see her?

I should have noted in the piece that all the above tracks are from her latest album.


rockroots - October 15, 2016

I certainly am!


WorldbyStorm - October 15, 2016

I will see you there! 🙂


2. Phil - October 23, 2016

Thanks for this – never heard anything by her before & am now thoroughly intrigued. Listening to both LINL & Wonderful, I felt they seemed much longer than their single-length running times – there’s an awful lot going on there. Perhaps it was the sax that got me thinking along these lines, but I was strongly reminded of early Bowie – the same combination of theatricality and self-absorption, wanting to get something across but refusing to make it any clearer; the same kind of flair for melody, undercut by unexpected twists and breaks. Good stuff.


WorldbyStorm - October 23, 2016

Yeah, that’s a very interesting comparison Phil. I think there’s a lot in that. Definitely complex, funny, pretentious and unpretentious simultaneously.


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