Cat Power | Wanderer | Album Review
Domino Recording Co.
Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Charlyn Marie Marshall, known best by her stage name Cat Power, released her first album since 2012, titled Wanderer. The album is powerful in its simplicity. Most tracks feature only Marshall’s voice with a piano, the occasional drum beat, electric guitar, synth, and cello.
The album begins with “Wanderer.” Marshall’s voice is the only instrument. Her vocals have been stacked, making it feel like it is echoing through a Victorian cathedral, setting a haunting yet beautiful tone for the album.
In the track “Woman,” Lana Del Rey provides backing for Marshall’s haunting vocals. Together, their voices intertwine into one. The two powerhouse females cry “I’m a woman, woman, woman” over a drum and synth backing that builds with the chant, transforming the song into a battle cry of female strength.
Cat Power covers Rihanna’s song “Stay” in such a way that it is nearly impossible to deduce that it isn’t Cat Power’s original track. Her version takes the recognizable track down to its bones, performing it only with a piano. The sound of pedals being pressed and her gentle ritards make it feel raw and honest.
The only track that deviates slightly from this acoustic feel is “Horizon.” As listeners fall into a trance of the familiar piano, electric guitar and harmonies, Cat Power’s harmonies suddenly become auto-tuned. It becomes difficult to focus on her meaningful lyrics as they become muddled behind something that begins to feel like a parody. Once the auto-tune subsides, the album continues its acoustic feel.
For the most part, Wanderer feels like a jam session in a cozy house. Each track feels as though it demands complete focus, as Marshall bears her soul through the music. Anyone looking for chill autumnal vibes combined with a subtle strength will immediately fall in love with Wanderer.