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Album Reviews Fairy tales to fall in love with

IAN SINCLAIR reviews the latest albums by Treetop Flyers, Princess Chelsea and Cat Power

Treetop Flyers
Treetop Flyers
(Loose)

★★★

KNOCKING around in the same musical circles as Wave Pictures and Danny Champions of the World, London-based group Treetop Flyers — their name taken from a Stephen Stills song — trade in classic-sounding US rock music.

Their self-titled third album sticks with this well-worn formula, kicking off with a lovely mid-tempo, pedal steel-led instrumental track. The joyous single Sweet Greens & Blues sounds a lot like Van Morrison’s Caledonian Soul music, mixing rapturous gospel-tinged lyrical phrasing with pumping brass, while It’s Hard To Understand mines classic r'n'b.

Lead singer Reid Morrison’s vocals sit somewhere between soul greats like Dobie Gray of Drift Away fame and new kid on the block Michael Kiwanuka.

With Sam Beer taking on singing duties on a few songs, including Kooky Clothes, Treetop Flyers have created a set of eminently listenable tunes, harking back to rock’s golden period.

Cat Power
Wanderer
(Domino)

★★★★

THIS TENTH studio album from Cat Power — critically acclaimed Chan Marshall’s musical moniker — encompasses her life now, “going from town to town, with my guitar, telling my tale” much like “folk singers, blues singers and everything in between.”

The US singer-songwriter’s tales on Wanderer will be familiar to her dedicated fans – deeply personal and raw lyrics full of romantic turmoil that get under your skin, backed by folk-tinged indie music.

In Your Face and the vulnerable and emotionally charged ballad Stay employ mesmerising piano playing, while the chiming Horizon is another stand-out track.

With the upbeat single Woman featuring pop music’s It Girl Lana Del Ray, Chan will be introduced to a much bigger audience, with her beguiling modern-day blues a real treat for both long-time admirers and newcomers.

Princess Chelsea
The Loneliest Girl
(Lil’ Chief Records)

★★★★

SEEMINGLY simple and honest lyrics are at the centre of the magical third album from Princess Chelsea, aka New Zealand’s Chelsea Nikkel.

Bedroom synth-pop is as good a label as any for the impressive artificial sounds conjured up here.

Best of all is the brilliantly vulnerable I Love My Boyfriend, a song about being attracted to someone else when you are in a monogamous relationship. “Every time he looks at me I get electric shocks”, sings Nikkel in her childlike voice about “a boy,” before affirming: “But I love my boyfriend/He is good to me, he's a good man.”

Elsewhere, she chides friends for “sitting around drinking coffee, waiting around to die” on the finger-pointing Wasting Time, while closer All I Need finds the protagonist “having a moment” at a Bruce Springsteen gig.

Confessional fairy tales to fall in love with.

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