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Cate Le Bon makes poetic songs for absurd times

The singer-songwriter's "Rock Pool" drops today.

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Cate Le Bon is well aware that we live in strange times. That’s the premise for the Welsh singer/songwriter’s new EP “Rock Pool” (out today), which came out of the same recording sessions as her 2016 record “Crab Day.”

“It’s almost a reactionary language to the absurdity and horror of the times we’re living in,” says Le Bon, who now lives in Los Angeles. She wrote these songs before Donald Trump came into power and Brexit happened, but she certainly recognizes their significance now.

The EP’s title track, “Rock Pool,” a song about people living in their secluded bubbles, has a jangly, carnival-esque feel. And “Aside From Growing Old,” dealing with the fear of the future, features bizarrely bright synths and her melodic, sing-songy vocals.

The dichotomy between dark, thought-provoking themes and musical whimsy — which also rings true throughout the songs on “Crab Day” — acts as escapism for the artist. “In times of extreme fear and absurdity, I guess there’s a reassurance in checking out and becoming whimsical and nonsense kind of feeding into that,” she says. “It’s almost a language of escape and every configuration of it is some type of reality, you know.”

Late nights writing on the mountainside

Le Bon and her band recorded the “Crab Day” sessions at Panoramic House, a destination recording studio and bungalow in Stinson Beach, California. As is often her style, she waited until the last possible moment to solidify the poetic lyrics of her songs.

“I know what the songs are about and I know the kind of words that I’m foraging for, but I leave it until the last minute to just put everything together,” she says. “I’ll be up the night before, singing vocals until six or seven in the morning… We were up in a mountain and it was so peaceful – what I usually lament myself for doing, it was actually a really nourishing process this time.”

Accepting chaos

As Le Bon grows older, she considers that “everything just seems to make less and less sense.” It’s in this spirit that the now 33 year-old was able to make “Crab Day” and “Rock Pool.”

“[They’re recordings] that I wanted to make and wanted to imply complete abandon,” she says. “I think that’s something that I found a lot easier as I grow old.”

If you go:

January 26, 8 p.m.
Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St.
$16, boweryballroom.com

January 27, 8 p.m.
Black Box @ Underground Arts
1200 Callowhill St.
$14, undergroundarts.org

January 31, 7 p.m.
Middle East Upstairs
480 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
$15, mideastoffers.com

 

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