Coming from the same time period, there isn’t much of a departure from the sound of Cate Le Bon’s last album; after all, her vocals, which are such a large part of her appeal, are still there, as are her lyrics. But then, in ‘CYRK II’ her lyrics are notably more introspective, more considered. ‘What Is Worse’, the first song to be shown from the album, takes Cate Le Bon’s smokey voice and makes it ruminate on the very nature of love over a lolling beat. As openers go, it’s very, very good, but no more so than any others on the album.
‘The Eiggy Sea’, with its imagery of nature, paints a pretty soundscape of the sea, and what a cruel mistress it can be. Le Bon’s own voice ebbs and flows like velvety waves. ‘That Moon’ continues the natural elements with a bit more lightness; soft ‘oohs’ and higher vocals override any signs of sombre piano keys or background guitar riffs. Of course, even than the more serious side of the ‘CYRK’ sessions is audible. This is precisely why there are two albums. ‘Seaside, Low Tide’ lazily meanders its way through a sunny five minutes, cloudy skies parting for an excellent guitar solo and making you really, really wish you were on holiday. (Maybe in Wales. But only if it’s sunny.)
Things close with the delicate ‘January’, in which Cate Le Bon confides within the first two lines, “Moving kills me / And sets me on fire.” In a music scene flooded with female singer-songwriter types, Cate Le Bon is incomparable, her vocals and style utterly her own. The only downside to ‘CYRK II’ is its brevity; at less than half an hour long, it’s over too soon. But maybe that’s a good thing. It serves as a kind of light dessert drink to enjoy sipping on after the feast that was ‘CYRK’.
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Entirely captivating, with just enough moments of optimism to keep you hanging on.