There are plenty of American influences detectable on ‘Mug Museum’. At a time when The Velvet Underground are omnipresent as a result of the death of Lou Reed, Le Bon will inevitably attract a few comparisons to Nico: her brand of haughty psychedelia clearly borrows greatly from Warhol’s superstar. But Le Bon ensures that she takes that sound to somewhere new with a certain timeless gothic appeal that is all her own. On tracks like ‘Duke’ there is a childlike joy in those high notes that (tantalisingly) she never quite hits, and on ‘I Think I Knew’, a duet with Seattle singer Perfume Genius, the mournful vocals are saved from outright gloom by a twinkly percussion throughout.
But for all that, Le Bon’s a true Carmathenshire girl at heart. It shines through with a glint of cheekiness on ‘Are You With Me’ when she croons to her ‘baby’ in her thick Welsh accent – and it’s no surprise that in making ‘Mug Museum’ Le Bon flew in her friends from Wales to form her backing band. All of which suggests that far from a defector to Tinseltown, she may just be a refreshingly confident kind of artist who wants to educate the Transatlantic tastemakers to her idiosyncratic appeal rather than hoping that they’ll mould her to easy marketability. Buy this album here
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