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The 1998 album featuring Chan Marshall backed by two-thirds of the Dirty Three (the two-thirds that don't play violin). A breathtakingly beautiful, hypnotic record. If Cat Power were Van Morrison, this would be her "Astral Weeks."
Singer Chan Marshall takes intimacy to a new level with the eerily lovely song cycle of Moon Pix. The narrative revolves around a nightmare figure who beckons toward a location that sounds rather like H-E-double hockey sticks. The starkness of this ghost story is mirrored in the austerity of the atmospheric music. Joined by Jim White and Mick Turner of the Australian slow-rock band the Dirty Three, Marshall uses spare guitar, flute, and piano arrangements to create the sounds of the last singer left on a postapocalyptic landscape. As Marshall sings in "Say," "If you're looking for something easy, you might as well give it up," and that lyric is the best description of this difficult and brilliant album. --Lois Maffeo
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Top Customer Reviews
She was right. I listened to it in the car driving with a friend from Vancouver, B.C. back to Seattle. And while the music resonated through the car and actually inspired me (good thing, since I was driving), my companion fell into a sound slumber). This music is like a slow lullaby OR gets into your soul and stirs you. For me, Moon Pix did the latter. I listened to it ceaselessly for a few weeks. My friend informed me that Cat Power was returning to Seattle. We attended the show, but the room being dizzyingly hot and crowded coupled with the disarmingly quiet one woman performance... making the whole experience memorably somniferous. We eventually had to go into the other room and listen from afar because it was too sleep inducing... (turned out to be a mistake since we met a weird Finnish man who had not showered in a month or so!)
Whatever the case, Chan Marshall's vocals are unusual and not always beautiful. They are stark and often sound like... reality. There is no other way I can think to describe it. There is an earthy, slightly raspy tone to her vocals, the lyrics are painful and intelligent... and overall, this is an album of such ambitious searching that you cannot help but love it.
As for Cat Power, all I can say is that it was a sore, sore disappointment.
Chan Marshall's voice is pretty, but never goes beyond that. She sings in a coo, usually accompanied by a single instrument (guitar or piano). The result? Recordings that are mostly in one tempo, and not enough diversity. Whereas Wright uses twisty melodies, lyrical poetry and moments of exhilarating strength to enrich even her slower songs, Marshall stubbornly sticks to the low-fi minimalistic approach and, quite frankly, induced sleep in me. Her lyrics are nothing to write home about, and the whole album is like a nice girl next door without anything really interesting to say -- sweet for a couple of minutes, but not nearly enough to sustain a whole album's running time.
For low-fi, intimate music with heart and brains, go for Julie Doiron's Loneliest in the Morning.
Chan Marshall (who is Cat Power) knows how to tap into that happy/sad vibe with such ease for someone so young. I'd been listening to Beth Orton for a while, enjoying the wide open spaces of her warm voice. Then I heard Chan. Maybe it's the sparse production on "Moon Pix", but somehow Chan's soul really shines through. She's got an achy, breaky voice that can turn a line like "Yellow hair, you are such a funny bear" (from "Colors and the Kids") into a deeply moving expression of love remembered. "Colors" may seem like "just a piano ballad," but it sneaks up on you with its intensity.
Opening track "American Flag" rocks the blues a little before moving into more hushed territory. The country-tinged "Moonshiner" is great for sobbing in your beer. The hopeful lyrics of "Cross Bones Style" keep you going when the chips are down ("Come on child, in a cross-bones style/You have seen some unbelievable things...").
"Moon Pix" is a soul-searching album crafted of much love, but without the heaviness that can accompany such an endeavor. It's loose, spare, bluesy; emotional, yet leaving room for your own. I love this album. I will never cease to need it by my side.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm a fan of Cat Power since hearing "You Are Free" at an SO's place... This one I like almost as much... Read morePublished on April 1 2004
I've always thought that I'd only enjoy a completely new band to me, through hearing the album while I'm sleeping... Read morePublished on July 14 2003 by SMParadies
When I asked a friend to give me something tranquil to listen to while I study, she gave me "Moon Pix" on tape. Read morePublished on April 4 2003
I didn't love this album when I first heard it. I thought it was "nice"... "beautiful" even... but that was all. That was in the summer of 2001. Read morePublished on March 6 2003 by D. Lisoway
This is one of my all time favorite CD's. ITs music ranges from mellow and soft to a slight beat that moves you. A great purchase.Published on March 3 2003
What makes Moon Pix (and Cat Power) so wonderful is that I can feel a connection, I am FORCED to feel a connection with Shawn Marshall and that is afterall the most important goal... Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2003
This is a masterpiece. Haunting and mesmerizing. It is a testament to the proposition that musicianship is about the sound and mood created as much as technical prowess. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2003 by Candlewax
SADCORE?! what moron came up with that term? sheesh. lovely music here, whatever you want to call it.Published on Nov. 27 2002 by William E. May
I heard so many great things about this CD. People said it was one of the best sadcore albums ever. That is ridiculous! Read morePublished on Nov. 15 2002 by happyapple