Cate Le Bon // Cyrk II // 11.06.2012 // Ovni – Turnstile – The Control Group
Cyrk II is the latest EP by Welsh Indie singer songwriter Cate Le Bon. It is a sequel of sorts to the album Cyrk which was released earlier this year and featured tracks that were recorded during the album sessions, but were left out. With each of the 5 tracks at around 5 minutes in length, Cyk II is a long EP but from its opening moments to its last, there is a lot to like here.
When it comes to describing music, I try not to use words such as “subtle” or “sparse” to do it, because to me that always means “not a lot going on”. I may however have to eat my own words here since Cate’s vocal tone is very pleasant, and while there isn’t much in the way of power, it is certainly distinct.
On tracks like the opener 'What Is Worse', Le Bon's soft vocal tone is contrasted and yet aided by the occasional dissonance of the guitars and the gruff set up of the drums. It’s the sort of sound you get when it’s just you and a couple of friends messing around in a garage and as a prominent style, that suits just fine. The minor keyed 'That Moon' is a welcome change and the inclusion of a tired sounding pub piano and her charming forsetto make for effective touches to a song that is tinged with a subtle sadness (again, eating my words).
‘Seaside Lowtide’ is perhaps the strongest track on the album. Again the use of contrast is fantastic, this time between a harsh distortion of the solo guitar and the chirps of bells and keyboards. This harsh build of the instruments, the chords and combined with the slow tempo puts me in mind of psychedelia. The EP ends on the ballad 'January' where we really see Le Bon's lyrical prowess, delving into themes of birds in flight and burden.
Cate Le Bon may not be a vocal powerhouse but she doesn't need to be, especially when she has a firm grasp on melody and a good degree of charm. That combined with music that only appears to be simplistic while underneath flaunts ideas that go beyond guitar pop, makes for an interesting little EP that, is certainly worth the 25 minutes of your time.