· Kitten scratch, well worth the search.
Its not an easy admission that Cat Power was far more interesting when Chan Marshall was an absolute mess. Her shows may have been a shambles, with no real guarantee that she would even manage to work her way through a single complete tune. The shiny-happy music video diva of The Greatest certainly knows her moves but doesnt quite hold the same gravity as before. Perhaps its a form of indie rock schadenfreude at play. Perhaps she just wrote better songs flipped out of her tree. Either way, Free is at least three times the record The Greatest is and thats because it feels so real in comparison.
Des Ark isnt quite so messy, but with next to nothing she accomplishes on WXDU what Chan Marshall doesnt quite pull off with her team of Memphis studio legends on The Greatest. The seven songs here, recorded live on WXDU on New Years Day 2006, cut directly to the bone of Des Arks subject matter. Be it the solemn cry of, "it feels good to be used/When youre using" of "Lord of the Ring & His Fascist Time Keepers (For TJH)" or the cat scratch inherent in the title alone of "If by Gay You Mean Totally Fucking Awesome (For Katy Otto)," Des Ark proves herself one of todays most striking, down-to-earth and genuine singer-songwriters still hiding in the shadows.