EP REVIEW: Bradford Cox and Cate le Bon Don’t Live up to the Myth

The indie alchemists fail to make magic on their collaborative EP.

When you see this artist combination written on paper, it makes complete sense. 

Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox is an American indie rocker known for his organic, stream of conscious compositions, where even he doesn’t know were the music is going to go. 

Welsh folk experimentalist Cate le Bon is also known for her unpredictability, making complex riffs and and melodies seem effortless. Even when things don’t sound like they’d go together, she makes them fit.

On paper, this duo looks like a winning combination: two free spirits, bouncing off each other; a cross-Atlantic combination of experimentation and ideas. 

Then you listen to Myths 004—the latest installment in Mexican Summer’s collaborative EP series—and wonder where all of that complexity and surprise went. Cox and Le Bon seem to cancel each other out. It’s very apparent there are two streams of thought tugging two different ways on the majority of the tracks. 

Describing the sound of the EP is difficult. The best I can come up with is if you impinge Ray Davies’ vocal qualities and whimsy, mixed with some of Tom Waits’ unusual instrumentation, with a sprinkling of Four Tet’s electronic meanderings. 

The best track on the 7-song project is a piece called “Constance,” which would happily slot into any current indie electronica playlist. It’s a genuine standout in a set that otherwise fails to capture the imagination.

There’s no debate that these are two very talented and quirky musicians. Unfortunately, their combined powers does not amplify their strengths, but rather mutes them.

What looks good on paper, doesn’t always translate onto wax.

Score: 🔮🔮 / 5

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