Chan Marshall's ninth album as Cat Power comes five years in the making—a span of time broken up by tours, the 2008 covers album Jukebox, bankruptcy, the building of a self-financed home studio, a hospitalization for stress and long periods of inactivity. The time and struggle that went into Sun feel immediately worth it, though. Best known for songs that highlight her haunting vocals over spare acoustic guitar arrangements, Marshall dips into an array of synthesizers and electronic rhythms on Sun—aided by mixing from Cassius's Philippe Zdar—lending her songs an appealingly disorienting, at times almost trip-hop feel. There are more traditional Cat Power tracks here—the drums and guitar of "Silent Machine," say—but the constant remains Marshall's stunning singing voice, often layered and looped in on itself. It's a remarkable-sounding album, both on its own and as a surprising outlier within Cat Power's considerable body of work.
Eric Grandy, Google Play