Though released in 2009, I came across her debut album Me Oh My just last year and immediately became obsessed with it. Truthfully, I wasn't really listening to anything else like it at the time. Her unique brand of psych-tinged folk pop seemed out of place in my last.fm queue, but nevertheless it made me reminiscent of the time I went to France and in the course of exploring Brittany spent an afternoon traipsing through the labyrinthian grounds of a sprawling Chateau where footpaths overgrown with roses overlooked a lush river valley and springtime seemed eternal.
Cate's newest offering, Cyrk, delves even further into the psychedelic wanderings on Me Oh My; none of the songs would have been out of place on my Electric Lemonade Acid Test comps, or in a circus sideshow where both audience and performers are on hallucinogens. Cate's vocals are theatrical and haunting without being over-the-top. She seems at once mournful, chiding, dreamy, furious, and yearning. And again I am transported, wishing I could time warp to the streets of 1960's London, where I'd run around in a brightly colored velvet frock, platform boots, and a floppy hat. This is a desire that I probably haven't had since I watched Velvet Goldmine for the first time at the tender age of sixteen.
When I heard the Welsh singer would be making her way to Mercury Lounge to kick off her stateside tour in support of the album, I was filled with an overwhelming sense that if I went to the show, these flights of fancy would somehow be laid bare, that I could better understand their point of origin and in so doing clear my head of such visions. The voice would spring from between my ears to stage and become reality instead of myth. Either that, or rainbows would spring from Cate's fingertips and she'd give birth to a full-grown unicorn before our eyes.