Music review: Cate Le Bon, Summerhall, Edinburgh

Blending musical influences from both the UK and the US, Cate Le Bon’s Summerhall show felt like travelling without moving, writes David Pollock

Cate Le Bon PIC: H Hawkline
Cate Le Bon PIC: H Hawkline

Cate Le Bon, Summerhall, Edinburgh ****

Singer and songwriter Cate Le Bon has built her career in a series of locations infused with a sense of historic rock mysticism. She started out in her home country of Wales, a land where many artists, including her old friends Super Furry Animals, seem imbued with a sense of otherworldly quirk. In 2013 she moved to Los Angeles, home of the breezily epic pop-rock song, and last year she relocated to Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert – thanks to U2, a perceived wellspring of rock authenticity.

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Listening to the music she makes – and especially the way she plays it live – it feels as though she's soaked up a little bit of everywhere she's been. Her set at Summerhall encompassed extra-terrestrial compositional grace and beautiful pop melodies, a very Fringe-like combination of the conventional and the esoteric.

Much of the set was drawn from last year's sixth album Pompeii (recorded during lockdown in a house in Wales), including the opening Dirt on the Bed and its title track. Harbour was a liquid 1980s groove, with a saxophone murmuring away amid its sound bed, and Remembering Me and Wheel are both beautiful songs with insistent choruses, the former weaving a powerful lyric about the reimagining of its singer’s life.

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Le Bon, a very fashionable high priestess in a long cape dress, played a guitar shaped like a fluorescent pink cloud. She was surrounded by four musicians who built a smooth, gleaming sound, particularly amid the meditative synth hymnal of Harbour and the bright, memorable closer Are You With Me Now?, and her music, much like its making, takes the listener to far-off places.