Cat Power, Moon Pix

Rob O'Connor

By Rob O'Connor

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Moon Pix

Cat Power

Chan Marshall, the Atlanta-born indie chanteuse who performs as Cat Power, delivered a knockout punch with her fourth album, Moon Pix. Recorded in Australia with guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White of the Dirty Three, the album pinpoints Marshall's elusive strengths as both singer and songwriter. She is a study in contradiction, a wallflower who models for the Gap, an intensely private person who stands emotionally naked on stage. Her intimate singing &#8212 her voice is best when threatening to dissolve into tears &#8212 gives her personal ruminations a focus they do not actually have. Make no mistake; these are songs of great sorrow and loss, of hidden optimism and joy, but they are all birthed in a fog. Properly absorbed, the songs linger far beyond their appointed time. Marshall stumbles at both piano and guitar, uncomfortably halting her rhythm section throughout the affecting "Metal Heart" and making the day-at-the-beach respite of "Colors and the Kids" sound like a trip through quicksand. The quirky presentation ensures that even the traditional folksong "Moonshiner" sounds as if it's coming from another planet &#8212 one worth exploring, in any case.