For her fifth album for Matador, Chan Marshall, aka Cat Power, has chosen to return to Memphis (where she made What Would the Community Think? a decade ago) to record at the legendary Ardent Studio with several members of the Hi Records session crew who played on the greatest recordings of Ann Peebles, OV Wright and Al Green. It's not the most obvious fit with her low-key alt.country stylings, but somehow it manages to gel quite well on tracks like "Living Proof", "Lived in Bars" and especially "Willie", whose languid manner is punctuated by an echoing sax hook. Marshall's tales of love and life all proceed at something of a stroll, whether she's pondering the influence of "The Moon", hoping for "Love and Communication", or recounting how her mother "Lived in bars and danced on tables/Hotels, joints and ships that sailed/ Swam with sharks, flew with aeroplanes/Out of here". Particularly effective is "After It All", where the rolling New Orleans piano and Marshall's warm, breathy voice are accompanied by an introductory bout of whistling that simply and vividly establishes the song's lazy, back-porch ambience.
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