Remember the crisp, naive melodies of the poppy and poignant Make up the Breakdown, Hot Hot Heat’s 2002 melee of widespread glee? These are alive and well on Mug Museum, the new LP by L.A.-via-Wales guitarist/songwriter Cate Le Bon. Screw sitting in the cafe, this is music for bounding carelessly past cranky people, listening to your iPod, your legs and arms practically twitching from unbridled amnesia, your mind just overwhelmed with thoughts never to see materialization.
As sexism usually has it, iTunes emphasizes in the blurb’s first line the fact that “Le Bon enlists the services of Devandra Banhardt/Joanna Newsom producer Noah Georgeson.” Folks, this is Parquet Courts, not Arcade Fire. Le Bon needs a producer like a truck driver needs ballet shoes. There’s a telling picture on wikipedia of her on stage playing guitar, innocence, rapture and peaked butterflies in a portrait all over her face. This stuff is her creation. With low-tech drums, the songs are busy enough for city streets, but simple enough in their statements to seep irreversibly into your heart, and I guess, the ire of crusty traditionalists out there who would deny that a woman can be the sole benefactor of such clear, graspable vision.