Cate Le Bon knew, all right. Or at least, she knows. The Welsh singer and songwriter has already released two worthy albums of haunting, delicate psych-folk, but she's still relatively unsung this side of the pond. As Le Bon announces her new full-length, Mug Museum, due November 12 in North America on Wichita Recordings, she's wisely unveiled a collaboration that might open her audience to more than those of us who hang on Nico comparisons and Super Furry Animals cosigns.
"I Think I Knew" is a leisurely and ornately fuzzed-out pairing with the achingly earnest Perfume Genius. The song isn't so much a departure from Le Bon's past work as a fresh, inviting perspective on it. We don't know what, exactly, Le Bon and and Perfume Genius man Mike Hadreas think they knew, but Hadreas' poignant coo helps ground Le Bon's cooler lilt in easily graspable emotions: They had the knowledge, but they've lost it, and now there's only a sharp, exquisite ache.
With production by Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom, Devendra Banhart), the singers' voices ring out clearly in a vibrant, tuneful setting that should please fans of anyone from Stereolab to Tame Impala, Melody's Echo Chamber, or — indeed — former Girls frontman Christopher Owens' solo album, which shows up on the same SoundCloud playlist.
Cate Le Bon, Mug Museum track list:
1. "I Can't Help You"
2. "Are You With Me Now?"
4. "No God"
5. "I Think I Knew"
8. "Mirror Me"
9. "Cuckoo Through the Walls"
10. "Mug Museum"