An adventurous and imperfect indie EP
Indie darling Cate Le Bon and Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox have come together and birthed an EP as a part of the Marfa Myths Festival’s prestigious Artists in Residence program. Myths 004 is an exploratory glimpse into the creative mindset of both artists in a variety of ways. Vocally, lyrically, instrumentally and structurally adventurous across every second of the sub-30 minute runtime, the pair have crafted a collection of some very obtuse music—a few tracks of which are deeply rewarding.
The EP begins with “Canto!,” possibly their greatest triumph of all. Cox’s affecting vocals, the refrain of “your eyes,” and the bizarrely entertaining drum and guitar rhythms that constantly clash make for an extremely complex, but fun, listen. Le Bon then takes centerstage on track two, “Secretary.” Rather, her lovely vocals take center stage, as the instrumentation becomes more subdued and settle for a backing roll—the pair nails it once again. “Companions In Misfortune” represents a solid instrumental interlude that plays its role in the project well.
“Constance” is the first disappointment on the EP. It feels like Le Bon and Cox were going for an instrumental cascade, with piano breaks from the main instrumentation, which is primarily drums and some electronics. On a conceptual level, this sounds great, and like something that Le Bon and Cox could potentially pull-off based on the previous three tracks. Unfortunately, the pair drags out the instrumental cascade far too long (to an entire six minutes), and it becomes monotonous, despite all the interesting new and varied sounds throughout the song.
“Fireman” is another miss. An underwhelming vocal performance from Le Bon and an electronically altered spoken word part compete for space in the mix on a song that feels like a cramped elevator. The EP closes with “What Is She Wearing,” a song that could’ve been great with some more variation. Instead of ending on a high note, Le Bon and Cox end the album with another example of why their songwriting style gets risky beyond four minutes in length. Even as the guitar part starts to develop at the four-minute mark, the drums come in, but it’s already too late.
Le Bon and Cox could make a great album. It’s tough to make that case with only two great songs, but “Canto!” and “Secretary” might be those two songs. They’re stylistically adventurous, they show that the pair can play to one another’s strengths well and prove that they can work in a variety of capacities as collaborators. Unfortunately, Myths 004 is not the airtight evidence this argument needs, but it certainly has its moments.