Album: Cate Le Bon, Me Oh My (Irony Bored)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The debut release on Gruff Rhys's Irony Bored label, Me Oh My shows Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon to be a strikingly different prospect to the recent run of new female singers – closer to wyrd-folkie than soul-diva, but blessed with a unique line in imagery, and a ramshackle innocence to her musical approach that recalls the third Velvet Underground album, if Mo Tucker had sung all the songs.

Or indeed, Nico: there's an austere, uncertain other-worldliness about Le Bon's voice that echoes the late ice queen's, an impression heightened by the occasional moans of wheezing harmonium alongside her guitar. Blackness and night-time feature strongly throughout, as might be expected of someone who apparently only writes in the dark: the album's opening couplet is "I fought the night, and the night fought me/ Knocked on the door and used its key", and elsewhere she sings evocatively of "Eyes so bright they just steal the night". And fittingly for an album whose early working title was "Pet Deaths", mortality stalks songs like "Burn Until the End" and "Digging Song", while "Hollow Trees House Hounds" has the kind of gothic-rustic surrealism that many admire in Bat for Lashes and Florence & the Machine. A musical icon for the Twilight generation, perhaps?

Download this Me Oh My, Sad Sad Feet, Shoeing the Bones