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Cat Power | Moon Pix (Matador)
Moon Pix is the hydrographic fourth opus from Chan Marshall and is markedly different from her earlier work. It has an intimate, home-made quality about it due to the minimal production and quiet simplicity of its arrangements, which, far from making Moon Pix bleak, lends a cleanness and purity of sound. Marshall has developed and, dare I say it, perfected the art of meandering melancholy that was only hinted at on What Would The Community Think and shed the vocal histrionics that diluted the strength of Myra Lee. Her strong, seductive voice floats comfortably over the fluid instrumentation, maintaining intensity through its absence as much as its articulation. Although the songs are said to have been written during a very dark time for Marshall, her lyrics avoid the obvious metaphors and remain enigmatic and evocative. DIRTY THREE's Mick Turner and Jim White are equally stunning on guitar and drums respectively, playing sympathetically to Marshall's compositions, neither under nor overplaying their roles. The addition of subtle vocal harmonies and rippling guitar on tracks such as No Sense and Say add a beautiful extra dimension to the songs, but it's Moon Pix's more upbeat tracks; American Flag and Cross Bones Style which have the most immediate impact. On repeated listens, however, each of the eleven songs comes into its own as an entity and later, as a part of Moon Pix itself ?? a larger, finished work. Chan Marshall has created a sparkling masterpiece; one that holds its audience captive for an essentially personal musical experience before gently fading away.

Naoise Mac Sweeney
CWAS #4 - Winter 1998/9 - The Lost Issue

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