Chan Marshall's 9th studio release is characterised by a newfound comfort with her own neuroses and the introduction of what sound like default Ableton Live synthesizers. 'Cherokee' starts the album off strongly with a desolate yet soulful piano melody and contrasting vocal registers, but this level of quality isn't totally maintained throughout. Despite some of the opener's more melancholic lines, such as 'Never knew pain like this, everything die', the majority of the album feels happy, albeit in a vague, detached, introspective sort of way. As this is the only kind of happiness I'm comfortable with, I can relate.
There are some annoying hooks and lyrical clichés here and there, but anyone familiar with Marshall's past will know that these at least come from a sincere, authentic place. The middle of the album falls a bit flat but by the end it redeems itself with tracks like 'Manhattan' and 'Nothin' But Time'. It's a suitable album for those occassions when it's raining outside (or inside) your one bedroom studio apartment and you come to terms with your past mistakes, realizing that although your life is imperfect and possibly even pathetic, you're okay with it. Wes Anderson will probably like it a lot. 6/10
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