Rustic and Refreshing
Cate Le Bon has always been a musician that one might affectionately refer to as an “odd duck.” Singing in both Welsh and English and intertwining folksy melodies with twangy guitar, there’s something ethereal about Le Bon that’s hard to pin down. Her newest release, Crab Day, is no exception to this, highlighting her quirky manner in a more extreme way than ever before. It’s a swirling, resonating and utterly charming album, comprised of quaint rusticity and good old-fashioned singer-songwriter elbow grease.
Crab Day could certainly double as the soundtrack to a Wes Anderson film. It’s kitschy in the best way possible; a warm and cluttered living room filled with dog-eared encyclopedias and rusty old antiques, something you could hear in a French café and an indie movie trailer at the same time. Le Bon’s Welsh accent also brings the charm of Crab Day over the edge, giving it yet another leg up in terms of originality.
“Wonderful,” a certain highlight of Crab Day, is an impossibly catchy ditty with a piercing guitar riff and a whimsical, cloying chorus. The lyrics are deliciously giddy and off-kilter, as Le Bon drones that her heart is in her “supper” and her “liver,” and refers to her lover as “nebulous.” “Love Is Not Love” is a dreamy slow dance and a euphoric ballroom twirl, a waltz set to Le Bon’s striking vocals and accompanied by soft fanfare courtesy of the horn section.
Many of the tracks on Crab Day come across more like spoken word poems than songs. Le Bon doesn’t quite, well, sing. Instead, she drawls and half-enunciates, speaking in all of her Welsh voice-cracking glory seemingly more than she sings. “Find Me” is the most striking example of this, as the simple and repetitive guitar strumming sets the perfect backdrop for Le Bon’s anthemic chanting.
Crab Day is a rare gem of an album: one that crawls under one’s skin and stays there. It’s quaint, and frankly, adorable, but without being too overbearing. It’s sweet, but not sickeningly so.
Now, it’s just a matter of time until Crab Day becomes the soundtrack to the next Moonrise Kingdom.