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Cate Le Bon at Circle Bar

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CYRK, the 2012 changeling by Welsh chanteuse Cate Le Bon, sneaked into the new year by the slimmest of margins. Bobbing like a message in a bottle, it hit our shores Jan. 17, surfacing in the middle of a retrospective dead sea where the attention span for current releases falls somewhere between undying hangovers and stillborn resolutions. CYRK II, her August EP/epilogue, thusly serves two purposes: a safe deposit for the guarded parts of an otherwise gregarious recording session, and a gentle reminder that one of the most striking LPs of the year might have glanced by. However you enter Le Bon's world — through the elongated, psych/rock circus tent or the elegant, intimate sideshow — a trove of riches awaits. Tropicalia guitars buzz and bend, drums knock out regular rhythms irregularly, a blustering trumpet or lounging piano crash the party. As a singer, Le Bon sidesteps notes like Nico in a Stereolab coat; as a songwriter, she's as assured as her delivery is detached. The respective centerpieces of her recordings, "Fold the Cloth" and "That Moon," illustrate the impressive spectrum of temperatures: The former cooly undulates like paisley sheets on the line, while the latter yearns for a distant lover, burning with desire, turning to distraction. "Pulling fences is a sound I know, a sound I love," the former Penboyr farm girl pines. "And for his eyes/ I scan the skies." And finding nothing, she goes back inside. Alexis & the Samurai opens. Call for ticket information. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

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