CATE LE BON & BRADFORD COX Myths 004 gets 6.5/10

Cate Le Bon & Bradford Cox

Myths 004
Mexican Summer


Myths is an ongoing series of collaborative EPs between some serious indie heavy-hitters. You would’ve thought we’d peaked at Myths 002 (a 2017 collaboration between Ariel Pink and Weyes Blood), but Myths 004’s line up gives that a run for its money by pairing indie juggernauts Cate Le Bon and Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox.

As with other entries in the series, this is a playful collection of experimental, somewhat absurdist tunes. It won’t be topping any year-end lists: the song structures are too barebones and the instrumentals too repetitive. That being said, some tracks here serve as an interesting addendum to both artists’ latest outputs.

Opener Canto! fulfils the promise of this collaboration. The drums, piano sound and warbling Cox vocal are pure Deerhunter, the chorus refrain so Le Bon, and the atonal chorus a bit of both. Fireman is another fun track, with Le Bon’s playful background melody backing Cox’s dry delivery. If only the lyrics matched the tone, as the song’s goofiness is at odds with a somewhat harrowing Cox narrative told from the perspective of a firefighter.

Le Bon is decidedly the stronger influence across the remainder of the EP.  She takes more of the vocal spots and the plucky, off-key guitar sound throughout is ripped straight from the playbook of her latest LP Reward. Secretary is the album’s most fleshed-out track, a pretty Le Bon piano ballad with some great lyrics about the boredom of administration (“Can I take some time/ Stay on hold/ Go on holiday/ Make amendments”). Unfortunately on What Is She Wearing the formula wears thin, with a meandering and unfunny narrative that stretches over an equally aimless instrumental. It’s intentionally lacking in energy and suffers for it. And at almost seven minutes in length, it takes up a quarter of the album.

On Cox’s end we have the instrumental Constance. It probably shouldn’t be acceptable as it is, given it plays off a single idea for six minutes. Thankfully that idea is an entrancing, bubbling bass groove that deserves time to stretch out. The remainder of the album is padded by two short instrumentals, one jazzy and one ambient. They’re fun detours, but you’ll be unlikely to spin them more than once.

This highlights from Myths 004 decidedly make it worth the time of anyone that’s a fan of either artist. It’s a peak at two talents having fun in the studio, and even if these songs are intentionally underdeveloped their component parts still pack some great ideas.