It might have taken Cat Power six years to release a new album of original material, but it isn’t as if she’s been slacking.
On “Sun,” the singer-songwriter born Chan Marshall (in Atlanta) plays nearly every instrument and constructed these tunes from deep emotions.
Somehow, she’s managed to craft a record that is full of slick production tricks – synthesizers, drum loops, hazy harmonies – yet it usually sounds minimalistic.
The combination of her ethereal voice and lilting drum loops buoy “Cherokee” and “3,6,9,” a perfect Sunday afternoon song – many of these are, actually – except that her lyrics aren’t meant for lounging, but for listening.
On “Ruin,” which sounds like an iTunes commercial as done by Sinead O’Connor, Power suggests we take a look inward and stop whining about our perceived insufficiencies in life. She also injects some bracing reality into “Manhattan,” which, despite its gentle piano plinks in the background, reminds us that “people come and people go, all the friends that we used to know ain’t coming back.”
The album’s centerpiece is the 11-minute “Nothin’ But Time,” which is intriguing in its concept and mostly succeeds with its swirling concoction of synthesizers, piano and trippy melodies. But when Iggy Pop shows up halfway through for some deep-throated harmonies and “Time” begins a fade in-and-out routine, what initially began as a pure pop song starts to sound like a gimmick, which seems a bit beneath Power’s talents.
Also available Tuesday: