Cate Le Bon

Cyrk

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The sophomore outing from Welsh singer/songwriter Cate Le Bon pairs the spooky timbre of Nico and the meandering psych rock affectations of Syd Barrett with the experimental Nuggets-meets-Krautrock attack of Faust and Os Mutantes. Jangly retro-pop gems like "Puts Me to Work," "Falcon Eyed," and "Fold the Cloth," the latter of which sounds like a lost early-'90s Stereolab classic, keep things moving along at a brisk pace, while more exploratory pieces such as "Ploughing Out" and the neatly fractured title cut give listeners a little more to chew on. While each track on Cyrk brings to mind somebody else (Velvet Underground, "Genesis Hall"-era Fairport Convention, Comus, Spacemen 3), Le Bon somehow manages to make it all feel surprising natural, allowing the oddness of the songs, all of which are built upon the foundation of a simple, melodic hook, then allowed enough pasture to graze indefinitely, to evolve in a way that never seems contrived, despite their obvious influences.

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