“Mug Museum” by Cate Le Bon
Cate Le Bon
Mug Museum is the first effort from Wales-born Cate Le Bon since her move to Los Angeles, and any concerns about her going Hollywood are quickly swept aside. The idiosyncratic singer/songwriter, (“The weather licked your face dry.”), continues on her own particular path. From the unleashing The Voice on the finale of “Duke” to the circular guitar figure in “I Can’t Help You,” gleaming with the ghosts of AM radio hits past, there’s no overload, just a deliberate deployment of all the weapons in her arsenal in service of a strong collection of songs about family.
Deliberate is the key word here, and all the stylistic threads she’s dabbled with have coalesced into a solid whole, thanks in no small part to longtime cohorts H. Hawkline and Sweet Baboo. “No God” and “Are You With Me Now” particularly benefit from their contributing to a patient, relentless groove. “I Think I Knew,” with Perfume Genius, shows her affinity to the duet, and when the two distinct souls hit harmony at the 4:09 mark approaching the fade, it’s a moment of ascension. The title track brings the album home with a disconcerting chair creak summoning up the ghosts in all our attics.