Over the years, Cate Le Bon has managed to carve out her own, niche brand of off-kilter indie rock that is indebted to classic ‘60s pop and messy ‘90s indie while still managing to throw enough curveballs to keep things fresh and modern. Rock Pool continues that trend as Le Bon, again, dives head first into angular guitar riffs, curious piano, marimba stabs and lyrics that toe the line between the inscrutable and the deeply touching.

This four track EP consists of songs that were “killed darlings” from her last album, 2016’s Crab Day. Luckily, this means the same killer band that backed her then have been given another four tracks to stretch out and freak out. Le Bon is joined by fellow Welshman Huw Evans, AKA H. Hawkline, on guitar, marimba and synthesizer, and Stephen Black, AKA Sweet Baboo, on bass—two frequent collaborators on a number of her past albums.

Rounding out the group is the effortlessly talented Stella Mozgawa of Warpaint behind the kit. Her drums are crisp, and each beat, despite sticking to mostly standard patterns, is satisfyingly groovy. Mozgawa and Black have quite the give and take, locking into each other closely and providing a steady foundation for Le Bon and Evans’s jitterbug guitar riffs and chords.

As with all of her releases, Rock Pool is a fascinating listen because Le Bon imbues so much of her own self into it. There is a personal warmth that isn’t just lo-fi, cassette fuzz. Take for instance, album closer, “I Just Wanna be Good.” With the opening duo of “I don’t want to be the cold cuts lying on your floor/ I don’t want to be the stray dog scratching at your door,” Le Bon fuses the real and surreal before admitting that “I was a lovely, little land/ I was good on paper/ I just wanna to be good to you” as her vocals harmonize and cascade over each other. It’s a devastatingly sad song that balances its heavy handed emotions with quirky marimba chimes and noisy, yet melodic guitar lines.

On the other hand, “Perfume Day” sounds more like an alternative world soundtrack to the weirdest episode of Adventure Time as it is buoyed by daft marimbas and a fuzzy guitar riff that sneakily buzzes around verses and choruses. Le Bon works her way through a haze of confusion during the verses, proclaiming “I was thinking of colors/ I’d never show/ I was dreaming of others/ I’ll never know their names” before reminding us that, “Perfume days are over/ Not, not nice/ Not, not great.” What a perfume day is exactly isn’t really explained. Perhaps it’s a sibling to the fictional, “new holiday that isn’t a holiday” that she named her last album, Crab Day, after.

“Aside from Growing Old” kicks the album off with what sounds like a distorted farfisa proudly emitting noodly melodies while guitars twang away, dropping in and out of harmony with a bouncing bass. Meanwhile, the title track, “Rock Pool”, drunkenly stumbles around squawking wah guitars and an insistent shaker that drives the entire song.

Rock Pool sits nicely in Le Bon’s not quite normal, yet still quite catchy discography. As with every release, Le Bon continues to establish herself as a creative maverick, devising deceptive pop songs that are delivered in odd, messy ways. There’s a ragged beauty to Rock Pool that doesn’t quite set in until a handful of listens. At that point, it’s hard not to be fully engulfed in the delightfully dreamlike world that Le Bon conjures.

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