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Cate Le Bon

Mug Museum (Turnstile / Wichita)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., March 14, 2014

SXSW 2014 Records

Cate Le Bon

Mug Museum (Turnstile/Wichita)

Cate Le Bon may have traded Cardiff for the City of Angels, but one thing's for sure, the California sun hasn't brightened her disposition. On third LP Mug Museum, she's still contemplating life and death, but her noir lyricism comes offset by measured doses of profound confidence. Guitar fires up "I Can't Help You" with Belle & Sebastian-like enthusiasm, leveled by Le Bon's soft, dissenting chirp. "Duke" rumbles, weighted by drumming from White Fence's Nick Murray, then zooms from valley to peak in a playful, soaring chorus tinged with Sixties pop. In the past, the singer's relied on frayed musical quirks to add her own element of weird, but Mug Museum remains delightfully off-kilter without resorting to weird for weird's sake. "I Think I Knew," a delicate duet with Perfume Genius' Mike Hadreas, revels in its sparseness, taking you into the folds of your new favorite funeral shroud. (12mid, St. David's Historic Sanctuary)

***.5

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