- 14 Jan 22
The American singer-songwriter covers an eclectic selection of songs by classic and contemporary artists.
Incredibly, Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power, is into her fourth decade as an artist. Her delicate indie-rock has been creating ripples since the mid ‘90s, eventually causing an inspirational tidal wave for the likes of Soccer Mommy and Phoebe Bridgers. No stranger to cover compilations, Marshall’s 11th studio album is her third foray into the world of dedications.
Marshall transforms the neo-soul tones of Frank Ocean into her own hypnotic vibe on the opening track ‘Bad Religion.’ ‘Unhate’ is a soothing, retrospective take of her own shocking 2006 song ‘Hate' – with the original sounding thin and brittle in comparison. The heavy keys on Lana Del Rey’s ‘White Mustang’ are delicious.
A stripped back and stuttering version of Shane MacGowan’s ‘A Pair of Brown Eyes’ lacks the melodic melancholy of The Pogues original. ‘Against the Wind’, meanwhile, is almost unrecognisable, lacking the yearning and healing nature of Seger’s classic.
Her twist on Iggy Pop’s ‘Endless Sea’ is strong, and Marshall’s intricate guitar playing on Nico’s ‘These Days’ sticks as close to the authentic version as any song on the album, albeit at a slower pace. I was intrigued to hear that there was a Replacements track included (‘Here Comes a Regular’), though it's an ultimately underwhelming rendition.
With artists spanning Billie Holiday and Kitty Wells to Nick Cave, ‘Covers’ is undoubtedly diverse and eclectic. There are some delightful versions and sentiments captured by Marshall here – but what the album boasts in variety is often absent in its delivery.