Cate Le Bon - Reward (Vinyl)

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'There's a strange romanticism to going a little bit crazy and playing the piano to yourself and singing into the night', Cate Le Bon says, recounting the year living solitarily in the Lake District which gave way to 'Reward'. By day, ever the polymath, Le Bon painstakingly learnt to make solid wood tables, stools and chairs from scratch; by night she looked to a second-hand Meers - the first piano she had ever owned - for company, 'windows closed to absolutely everyone', and accidentally poured her heart out. The result is an album every bit as stylistically varied, surrealistically-inclined and tactile as those in the enduring outsider's back catalogue!


It's strange how this album arrived soon after Titanic Rising, given they are both artists recalling female psych-pop songwriters (Nico, Kate Bush) and are finally getting recognition deep into their careers. While I'd easily go with Titanic Rising over this, if you are hankerin' (and, perhaps, pankerin') for more of that relaxed, synthy, dreamy art-pop goodness this is an excellent companion piece.

There is a bit more Bowie and '80s influences going on here. The stand-out single "Daylight Matters" has that warped, druggy vibe of Bowie's Scary Monsters days. "Meet the Man" almost sounds like a Nine Inch Nails instrumental with its haunting distorted notes that climb up and down. It's sonically rich and full of good tunes, though it's feverish, moody qualities may not give it the same reach as Weyes Blood's breakout album from 2019.

I know it's bad form to pit female artists against each other, but in this case, it really is striking how similar they are and I believe if you like one you will enjoy the other.

By: Super_Lonely_Panda

A1 Miami
A2 Daylight Matters
A3 Home To You
A4 Mother's Mother's Magazines
A5 Here It Comes Again
B1 Sad Nudes
B2 The Light
B3 Magnificient Gestures
B4 You Don't Love Me
B5 Meet The Man

Gatefold jacket with download card.