LE BON,CATE - POMPEII[INDIES GATEFOLD TRANSLUCENT SUN YELLOW VINYL]
Dispatched on Release
*To be in with a chance of getting your hands on a signed Test Pressing of the new album simply pre-order Cate Le Bon's new album and you'll be entered into a draw to win! The winner will be chosen on the day of Release
1. Dirt on the Bed
3. French Boys
1. Running Away
2. Cry Me Old Trouble
3. Remembering Me
Pompeii, Cate Le Bon's sixth full-length studio album and the follow up to 2019's Mercurynominated Reward, bears a storied title summoning apocalypse, but the metaphor eclipses
any “dissection of immediacy,” says Le Bon. Not to downplay her nod to disorientation
induced by double catastrophe — global pandemic plus climate emergency's colliding ecotraumas resonate all too eerily. “What would be your last gesture?” she asks. But just as
Vesuvius remains active, Pompeii reaches past the current crises to tap into what Le Bon
calls “an economy of time warp” where life roils, bubbles, wrinkles, melts, hardens, and
reconfigures unpredictably, like lava—or sound, rather. Like she says in the opener, “Dirt on
the Bed,” Sound doesn't go away / In habitual silence / It reinvents the surface / Of
everything you touch.
Pompeii is sonically minimal in parts, and its lyrics jog between self-reflection and direct
address. Vulnerability, although “obscured,” challenges Le Bon's tendencies towards irony.
Written primarily on bass and composed entirely alone in an “uninterrupted vacuum,” Le Bon
plays every instrument (except drums and saxophones) and recorded the album largely by
herself with long-term collaborator and co-producer Samur Khouja in Cardiff, Wales.
Enforced time and space pushed boundaries, leading to an even more extreme version of Le
Bons studio process - as exits were sealed, she granted herself “permission to annihilate
identity.” “Assumptions were destroyed, and nothing was rejected” as her punk assessments
of existence emerged.
Enter Le Bon's signature aesthetic paradox: songs built for Now miraculously germinate from
her interests in antiquity, philosophy, architecture, and divinity's modalities. Unhinged
opulence rests in sonic deconstruction that finds coherence in pop structures, and her
narrativity favors slippage away from meaning. In “Remembering Me,” she sings: In the
classical rewrite / I wore the heat like / A hundred birthday cakes / Under one sun.
Reconstituted meltdowns, eloquently expressed. This mirrors what she says about the
creative process: “as a changeable element, it's sometimes the only point of control… a
circuit breaker.” She's for sure enlightened, or at least more highly evolved than the rest of
us. Hear the last stanza on the album closer, “Wheel”: I do not think that you love yourself /
I'd take you back to school / And teach you right / How to want a life / But, it takes more
time than you'd tender. Reprimanding herself or a loved one, no matter: it's an end note
about learning how to love, which takes a lifetime and is more urgent than ever.
To leverage visionary control, Le Bon invented twisted types of discipline into her absurdist
decision making. Primary goals in this project were to mimic the “religious” sensibility in one
of Tim Presley's paintings, which hung on the studio wall as a meditative image and was
reproduced as a portrait of Le Bon for Pompeii's cover. Fist across the heart, stalwart and
saintly: how to make “music that sounds like a painting?” Cate asked herself. Enter piles of
Pompeii's signature synths made on favourites such as the Yamaha DX7, amongst others;
basslines inspired by 1980s Japanese city pop, designed to bring joyfulness and
abandonment; vocal arrangements that add memorable depth to the melodic fabric of each
song; long-term collaborator Stella Mozgawa's “jazz-thinking” percussion patched in from
quarantined Australia; and Khouja's encouraging presence.
The songs of Pompeii feel suspended in time, both of the moment and instant but
reactionary and Dada-esque in their insistence to be playful, satirical, and surreal. From the
spirited, strutting bass fretwork of “Moderation”, to the sax-swagger of “Running Away”; a tale
exquisite in nature but ultimately doomed (The fountain that empties the world / Too
beautiful to hold), escapism lives as a foil to the outside world. Pompeii's audacious tribute to
memory, compassion, and mortal salience is here to stay
*No Purchase Necessary to enter the test pressing competition. To enter please email “Cate Le Bon” to email@example.com, closing date for entries is the 1st Feb 2022 . Please Note: Competition entrants must be able to collect the prize from Tower Records, 7 Dawson Street, Dublin, Ireland.
Rock & Pop