Review - Equally Cursed and Blessed

Artist: Catatonia

Sporting the most beautifully scratched and dented bleat since Marianne Faithfull's heroin heyday, Catatonia's lead chanteuse, Cerys Matthews, offers up a world-weary pop heroine on the Welsh act's second domestic release. Ringing diatribes on oppression ("Dead From the Waist Down"), urbanity ("Londinium") and other assorted fruits of skewed perspective are given life in these clever pop arrangements that wander from raised-glass vaudeville to straight-ahead fist-rock.

The album's best track, by far, is tacked on from last year's Brit-hit debut, "International Velvet." "Road Rage" is a soaring piece of anthemry penned for the broken generation in its many broken situations. "You should be taking it easy on yourself," howls Matthews, with such concerned conviction that you just have to believe her.

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