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Cat Power Wanderer Domino

Cat Power’s tenth album maintains Chan Marshall’s status as a stateswoman of great American songwriting. Her first record in six years, Wanderer speaks of pulling closer and stretching apart, returning only to leave again. Marshall’s breath punctuates sparse ballads, driven by rolling piano, expansive guitar and a lyrical map of riddles and wisdoms.

Horizon, an epic at the heart of the album, explores familial ties and the desire for distance; how it feels when you need to find your own space in relation to another person, with one eye on that far-off point where the sea blurs into blue sky. Tripping, ticking hi-hats keep a steady pace, one foot in front of the other, as electronically distorted vocals inject an alien strangeness into Marshall’s folk.

Lana Del Ray’s cameo on Woman adds understated support to a song that doubles as a mission statement. “Doctor said […] I was fully free,” Marshall sings, slow and victorious, confronting evergreen rumours about her wellbeing. But it is on the tender, piano-based version of Rihanna’s iconic hit Stay that Marshall’s return is most triumphant and contemporary, reasserting her talent as an astute listener as well as an inimitable voice.