Saturday, March 25, 2006

Music Reviews -- Cat Power and the Strokes

The Greatest by Cat Power is a sneaky album. The greatness here is so subtle it took me weeks to realize how much I liked it. Cat Power/Chan Marshall and her smoky voice saunters through these twelve songs capturing the sounds of folk, jazz and blues. She sometimes sticks to basic folksy story-telling, then throws you off balance with strikingly personal lyrics. On Islands she writes, “I want to rule the islands /and I want to rule the sea/But if you're not coming back/ I will sleep eternally.” The best artists can somehow merge longing and hope into one strange emotion and Cat Power does that here. This is a mellow, understated and alluring album. For fans of Iron and Wine, Pedro the Lion and Over the Rhine.

3.00 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale.

Listening to this feels like you have walked out of the house and realized for the first time that the morning fog has descended upon your property and you must take a walk.

It’s album number three for the Strokes. I have mixed feelings about First Impressions of Earth. The music is solid, though the band has added a poppier edge to their tunes and some of the songs feel like caricatures of other Strokes songs. While I’m not as into this as much as their first two albums, the writing has definitely improved. The lyrics have become much more personal and penetrating than in their earlier work. The first radio release, Razorblade, is the standout here as Julian Casablancas croons, “Oh no, my feelings are more important than yours.” Overall, it’s a decent album and it will be fun to see how they grow between this album and album number four.

2.25 out of 4.00 on the Vin Swanson Scale.

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