Cate Le Bon: “Crab Day” Review / Show Tues
Listening to the new Cate Le Bon record, I was initially a bit shocked. I have always adored Le Bon for her off-kilter melodies but Crab Day takes things to a new level entirely. My first impression of the record was that it seemed like a bit of a frenzy – all kinetic energy, spilling over the edges of tightly repetitive beats. I could hear melodies but they seemed jumbled and stuffed full of too many trappings.
It was only when the shock wore off when I began to appreciate this new face of Le Bon’s sound. Yes, Crab Day is at times aggressively oblique. Those angular structures though really add up to some unique and pleasurable tunes. Le Bon is the best when she finds a balance between accessibility and her weirder tendencies. She really hit the nail on the head with her last record, Mug Museum, and rather than attempting to do that one over again she’s (admirably) continued to push things forward.
In addition to pushing the envelope, Crab Day does still contain a lot of identifiers that fans will recognize from Le Bon’s prior work. Her lyricism is as unique as ever – and just when you think its nonsensical, it comes with a literal backstory (such as in “I Was Born on the Wrong Day” which is about the fact that Le Bon’s Mom accidentally celebrated her birthday on the wrong day. For years).
Le Bon’s bedrock sound is also undeniably hers. While she’s certainly playing around with rhythms, tempos, and instrumentation, as a whole her music is still entirely recognizable. It’s a sounds that’s tough to describe as it seems pretty unique to Le Bon herself. Does it contain shades of psychedelic rock? Yeah. Folk? Sure. Maybe a little vintage euro beat mixed with Japanese pop? OK. Does that really describe it? Not at all. le Bon has carved out an entire little musical niche for herself, and as far as I am concerned the only valid comparison is to compare Le Bon to Le Bon.
She’ll be bringing her uniqueness to the Cedar Cultural Center this week on Tuesday night (Tickets). Cate Le Bon is a fantastic performer and the material on Crab Day is all great so this one shouldn’t be missed.