Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Every place has their sunny days. It's not possible to avoid them. There are depressing spots and there are rainy spots, but the depression gives way for days at a time, weeks at a time. The goodness goes on a spree and the only explanation for it is that the odds came back around. The rainy places clear up, the clouds move off to the east and out pops the light and everything's improved and better for a spell. It's during these periods of superior niceness that we all take advantage of warmth and the weather, banking it up to use at later times. We kick ourselves from remaining hermitic, almost dormant and indoors when we get the pristine days, but we rationalize by telling ourselves that there will be more to come. We always think that we're going to get another -- that the forecasts are off.
Welsh singer Cate Le Bon probably has trouble counting on favorable weather. She may even curse it. We think it was just a typo when we read that she literally writes all of her songs in the dark, but there could be something to that. We think that more likely, she writes all of her songs in the pale light of an afternoon of foggy squalor. They are the kinds of afternoons that always look like they could be deceptive when viewed from the other side of the window. We want them to be nicer than they are. It might not seem overly windy or all that nippy and then you push the door open and it gets caught and slammed back to its hinges by a rattling gust and you immediately return to the house for another layer. They are the days when the tips of your fingers and toes never gain good feeling, just a solid redness and the cold of a fish stick pulled from the freezer. If there is any possible way to save up the goodness and benefits from the sun's Vitamin D, it would all be zapped by the time you got to the end of Le Bon's upcoming album, "CYRK," as well as her 2009 album, "Me Oh My." It would be shot to hell, sucked out of you by the sounds of the beautiful in their own right gray days that she brings to mind.
There's not a lot of looking on the bright side when it comes to Le Bon lyrics, which seem to center around the general sentiment of things not looking so rosy. She seems to be one of those people who's not depressed at all, they just like depressing things. They like to think about sadness, if for no other reason than that it has more depth. There are always more ways to think about sadness than there are to think about happiness. You also need to bring into the discussion the idea that it's easier to think about someone else's happiness than it is their sadness. There are different emotions at work here in these conflicting cases. Le Bon sings, "On the last day of the year/I'm just happy to be here/Looping melodies of time in my mind…./On the worst day of his life/He'd still love more things than I'd like," on the painful and wonderful new track, "Plowing Out." It's just the right touch of sour to the right touch of sweet. There's nowhere in the line where you feel that anyone is begrudging happiness of another. It's more so dealing with the lack of happiness that's hitting closer to home.