She was super cool even then, her voice already a stand out feature of
the band, and at the time echoing a Cerys
style naivity to the quality,
and naturalness of style brimming with youthful confidence.
So it probably seems a long wait to finally see a solo album, Me Oh
My, out under the moniker Cate Le Bon, and released by fellow Neon Neon
bandmate Gruff Rhys
Gruff said to the NME about the release: "The only problem being, that the highly original, strong songwriting
coupled with the spartan production has set a really high bar for any
future release on [his label] Irony Bored."
In the meantime the past 13 years haven't been idle for Cate, touring
and recording with Neon Neon must've been another world to step into,
alongside a myriad of solo gigs all over the UK, slowly building
herself a cult following.
I recently promoted a London gig with Cate headlining and it was one of
the busiest nights I've ever put on. This leap onto Gruff's label means
she's finally touring and playing gigs on a more established level,
currently supporting Slow Club around the UK.
Cate's a stunning, curious, girl. Striking to look at, formidable on
stage whether just armed with a naked voice or multi skilling on the
instruments. I love her easy retro style, her sense of fun in the
everyday and her bright, fairytale imagination.
My favourite shows have included a solo set at the ICA in London, where
the dark theatre light enveloped her, and the crowd calmed to absolute
silence, mesmerized by the voice. Another time, she was the uber cool,
head-dress wearing siren in the Neon Neon camp - and there were plenty
of pretty faces in that band!
I first saw them at Sonar festival in
Barcelona, where mammoth screens (seriously huge) surround the stage,
and the camera man was obviously taken with her - as that's all we saw
for most of the gig. That and images of Raquel Welsh!
This year at the Green Man
festival, she floored the place with an early
but lively appearance with full band on the Far Out Stage, and to
celebrate the album's release we replayed her Green Man set on
the BBC Introducing show - listen again for seven days
Me Oh My is a stunning, sparce, imaginative, and simply beautiful
album, and I'm currently refusing to take it from the car stereo. Do
get yourselves a copy, it'll soon become a treasured possession.
There's a full review of Me Oh My on the BBC Music website
. For more on Cate, visit her MySpace page
If you're wondering what she sounds like, you can enjoy Cate's music by
watching a film by Ewan Jones Morris and Casey Raymonds, two new
and very talented film-makers in Cardiff.