Hear the Sorrow in the Saxophones on Cate Le Bon’s “Running Away”

Her new album Pompeii is coming February 4 via Mexican Summer.

Back in the better days of 2019, avant-garde mastermind Cate Le Bon released one of the best albums of the year and, consequentially, one of the best albums in her catalogue, called Reward. Now, news has arrived that we’ll get to hear what Le Bon has been up to since. Today she’s announced the follow-up album titled Pompeii and revealed its lead single “Running Away.”

“Running Away” is buoyed by doughy keyboards and electrified saxophone. Le Bon’s vocals are tinged with weariness, obscure in tone. But later she sounds liberated as she sings, “It’s the sweetest thing / That you never had / You can’t put your arms around it / It’s not there anymore.” Here, Le Bon exercises that magical power of hers, sculpting an enigmatic world that’s tangible but also strange and unidentifiable. It’s a surreal world to be lost in.

Pompeii was written and recorded in a quagmire of unease,” Le Bon said in a press statement. “Solo. In a time warp. In a house I had a life in 15 years ago. I grappled with existence, resignation, and faith. I felt culpable for the mess but it smacked hard of the collective guilt imposed by religion and original sin.

“The subtitle is: You will be forever connected to everything. Which, depending on the time of day, is as comforting as it is terrifying. The sense of finality has always been here. It seems strangely hopeful. Someone is playing with the focus lens. The world is on fire but the bins must go out on a Tuesday night. Political dissonance meets beauty regimes. I put a groove behind it for something to hold on to. The grief is in the saxophones.”

Pompeii, which is out February 4, was written mostly on bass with Le Bon playing every instrument except drums and saxophone. It was made in an “uninterrupted vacuum” where exits from her studio were sealed, allowing her “permission to annihilate identity.”

Watch “Running Away” below and pre-order Pompeii here.


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