[sic] Magazine

Cate Le Bon – Me Oh My

‘The Importance Of Being Earnest’

2009 has very much been the year of the solo female artiste. Be them folkish, quirky or just plain pop, we’ve been up to our elbows in ‘em. Cate (no relation to Simon) Le Bon thus has a tough task ahead of her in these saturated times.

So, what’s her selling point? Wisely, she has acquiesced to Gruff Rhys’s advances, becoming the first signing to his Irony Bored label. As such, she has the full Super Furry support, already gaining just that on a recent tour. And eagle-eared musos will be quick to point out that the pair have previous, her lungs being put to good use on the curious Neon Neon track ‘I Lust U’.

Being Welsh, naturally Miss Bon has a cadent vocal, pitched neither squeakily nor quite as far into Nico-country as some may have you believe. Her solo work is mostly acoustic, folk-influenced and, all importantly, comes spliced with occasional SFA-brand madness. The Coral-like skiffle on album highlight ‘Burn Until The End’ makes the subject matter clear, and the unplugged, Radiator quality that ‘Shoeing The Bones’ exudes is there for all to hear.

It is safe to say those looking for a sing-along chorus can look away now, as Me Oh My doesn’t got none. And still less, those wishing for shiny production values need not apply. Be told, Cate Le Bon is nothing like Bat For Lashes and her fantasy pop. Miss Bon instead possesses a gentle eccentricity, less developed than, say, Devendra Banhart’s hirsute freak-folk, but their similarity in album titles still ought to be noted and suggests a mild affinity. In full, for reference, here we go: “Oh Me Oh My…The Way the Day Goes By the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit”.

For the same reasons that Sharon Van Etten’s album Because I Was In Love was a success, so might Me Oh My be. Both have caught the female folk revival at its peak and both peddle individual, earnest takes on it. Yet, for the same reasons Etten isn’t a household name, so probably won’t Cate Le Bon be. The aimless ‘Terror Of The Man’ is a case in point, needing a stronger injection of individuality and message. It turns out that the importance of being earnest is not as important as the importance of having something to say.