The Greatest Femail. Cat Power, Sun.

It's a fairly damning indictment of our modern times that search engine results for the enigmatic Chan Marshall are proceeded by the terms Twitter or, somewhat more worryingly, Giovanni Ribisi. It's the latter that most pertinently concerns Sun, this Marshall's ninth studio effort under the guise of Cat Power, and although the songwriter has oft been earmarked as a wallower there's a stirring resilience to these eleven tracks penned in the wake of her separation from the aforenamed and publicly shamed schmuck. Sun may mark the dawning of a new era for Marshall – both personally and creatively – although its subject matter has already shed some quite bizarre light on the personal, with one of two revelatory interviews earlier on in the summer going to the Daily Mail's deplorable Femail section. Go figure.

To judge this one by its cover for a brief moment, Marshall's split from Ribisi and her coiffure remake/ remodelling à la Jehnny Beth are anything but mutually exclusive events. If you dared to click the above link you may have glazed eyes over the following quote: "I cut my hair off three days later, got on a plane to France and I finished the s**t" and whilst such shearing may be something of a cliché (again, Google 'break up' and post- hairstyles feature fairly prominently. See Cosmopolitan's preferred 'Mane Makeovers' for frivolous substantiation), her incensed reaction feels enlightening. Like a naked flame coming into close contact with blue litmus paper reddened by the most flammable of acids, she ain't amused and anger evidently far better befits the songstress when contrasted with sorrow.

To take into account the Kübler-Ross model, Marshall may at the time of composing be pinpointed somewhere within its second phase: that of anger. Whether acceptance, or perhaps more perturbingly her default mood – that of depression – have since overwhelmed her mindset may be inconclusive as yet although there's some sting in the tail to Sun from its first swing. The windscreen gleam to the startlingly thunderous Cherokee is her most full-frontal, and questionably finest piece since the gritted tooth apologetics of You Are Free standout He War. "I never knew pain/ I never knew shame/ And now I know why", she sighs as though fessing up to her first fully committed amorous involvement, before pleading she be buried and married to the sky, the latest in love's unending line of spurned martyrs. Musically and lyrically provocative therefore, whilst she may well have hauled down those sublime curtains of fringe her body has been kept in fine balance, as her voice remains suitably sublime. A spectral, yet unmistakably human coo redolent of Sarah McLachlan or her somewhat more active contemporary in the svelte form of Natasha Khan, its innate tranquility perfectly offsets the distorted agitation musical to run beneath it. Her vocals carefully layered, it's as though Marshall constructs a ladder from her very own vocal chords in order that she may clamber toward her desired resting place. The most inspired of introductions.

The title track follows and for a moment its MicroKorg-styled mangle disorientates to a degree by which you question whether this really is Marshall you're tracing back to and not Teengirl Fantasy's latest. Soon erupting in expansive drones of phased guitar and a leaden rhythmic pulse however, it again elucidates the woman's empowered defiance in the face of sadness, delusion and general disappointment. And this isn't the only instance of re-modernisation either by the greatly varied sounds of it: Real Life recalls The xx' darkened grooves orbiting Bat For Lashes' Two Suns as though jetblack marbles rolling around saturnal rings, whilst 3,6,9 comes across as a plonky plod loosened from Marina Diamandis' crown of utter crud. It's the solitary dud on a quite irradiant LP; a lyrical hodgepodge concerning booze and a purported "monkey on your back" (it almost rings up comparisons with some certain Manc Neanderthals) rung to the ding of a detuned My Doorbell. The debate surrounding its final lyrical refrain is probably its most intriguing aspect: faint and heftily Auto-Tuned, is she really warbling "Fuck me"?

Decisive sultriness this way comes within the penetrative libertarian schtick of Human Being ("You got a right to be/ What you want and where you want to be" etc.), its slippery acoustics sounding as though straight outta GarageBand, whilst album closer Peace And Love has something of a Stooges scrabble to its blues-strewn distortions. To experience Marshall rap while rhapsodising over her own left field successes (if she may here righteously disregard "a hundred-thousand hits on the internet" then at least the 505,880 views accredited to Ruin on YouTube ensure she no longer has to "scrounge money on the ground money") caps off Sun in ever so slightly splendid fashion too.

Although it's her beloved New York – the all singing, all dancing glimmer of a city in which Marshall spent many of her formative years as a songwriter – which stands out thematically: Manhattan may be but a pallid shadow of the skyscraping emotivity to her smoky Sinatra rework but it's a subtle wonder nonetheless. Like a lo-fi re-envisaging of Voulez-Vous set in downtown Williamsburg in place of small-town Stockholm and written in the key of major jollity, sprightly drum machines patter about bursts of live percussion to Empyrean effect. Stylistically Brooklyn too is Silent Machine – an hypnotic maelstrom of Yeasayer-like schtuff, the overall aesthetic is of a polychromatic collage comprising blues, hues of passion and Goldfrapp, embellished with a riveting soundclash middle eight. Entirely incomparable with, say, Metal Heart such superfluous cross-referencing only serves to illustrate that Marshall's vital organs may be fortified rather more resolutely than we had once thought.

Just as it'd be all too easy for Marshall to have waded into an unending state of mourning never to return, it's never too difficult to locate a pang of pained lyric to tug away at. However when you've Nothin' But Time to cling to it incontrovertibly feels as though the best thing to do is to join her in this remarkable celebration of life. "Your world is just beginning/ And I know this life seems never ending", she relays sagaciously atop a twinkling sheen of anthemia that's tinged with the boundless optimism of an Olympic Opening Ceremony. Coincidentally, it's also a celebration of Bowie's Heroes – a track employed by Danny Boyle in his imagining of said event – and despite Marshall's placid assurances of "I'll be forgotten" perhaps insinuating she has now found acceptance where once belonged pure grief, it's one to savour for the longterm. That it also features the guttural groanage of Iggy Pop ("You wanna live!", he croakily decrees) only heightens the sense that this is a true opus. Her magnum opus, arguably and one to be filed alongside Perfect Day incontestably. Among lyrics of heroes and superhuman beings the unmistakable Bowie reference returns, before a crescendo sprinkled with affirmations of "It's up to you to be like nobody" brings more confetti-like inspiration than myriad Andrew W.K. pseudo-motivational speeches ever could.

Thus where Marshall has previous floundered in a mire of heavily intoxicated despair, in lovelorn trauma she has here encountered solace and, most astonishingly, if ever impressive is very rarely depressive. Consequently the listener is positioned staunchly against Ribini (personally, never cared for his acting anyway) and strongly in favour of Marshall. It's a case of hating on the antagonist and loving on the antagonised, and with it her present; her resplendent presence. That she even mentions our fair Isles of Wonder on the slinky Ruin instils a great sense of patriotic pride. Now if she'd only come on over...