Were the songs lined by Chan Marshall on her eleventh album as Cat Power left of their authentic type, they’d represent a stonking playlist. Taking in every little thing from forgotten classics (nation famous person Kitty Wells’ It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels) to beloved classics (These Days by Nico), from obscure numbers by obscure artists (Pa Pa Power by Ryan Gosling’s band Lifeless Man’s Bones) to obscure numbers by the greats (Iggy Pop’s The Countless Sea), it might be genre-spanning – there may be jazz (Billie Vacation’s I’ll Be Seeing You), pop (Lana Del Rey’s White Mustang), R&B (Frank Ocean’s Unhealthy Faith), nation, folks and punk – and era-traversing: each decade from the Forties to the 2010s is represented.
As a covers album, nevertheless, it’s much less life-enhancing. Marshall has chosen artists with massively distinctive voices and changed them along with her atmospheric however breathily refined vocals (plus rumbling and folksy instrumentation). That these songs additionally are likely to have wending, impressionistic melodies signifies that with no actually idiosyncratic supply, they don’t fairly minimize by means of.
Stripped of Shane MacGowan’s inimitable rasp, the Pogues’ A Pair of Brown Eyes continues to be lovely however far much less thrilling; White Mustang and Unhealthy Faith are equally robbed of their energy. The place a track looms massive within the collective reminiscence, a nuanced take has worth – akin to Marshall’s hotter, looser model of These Days – however different tracks, such because the bristlingly unusual The Countless Sea, are merely made extra pedestrian and palatable. Not a lot recent takes on previous favourites, Covers is extra like watered-down variations of semi-hidden gems.