The release of Catatonia's fourth album could hardly have been more badly timed, coming a week after singer Cerys Matthews was admitted to a rehab clinic suffering from exhaustion and alcoholism. Even if you didn't know that, however, you could have guessed from the lyrics of Paper Scissors Stone that all is not well in the Welsh band's camp. Songs of worry, self-reproach and mindless hedonism dominate, delivered with some of the most weary and heartfelt vocals Matthews has yet committed to record. This is a much less flashy album than the ones which made Catatonia stars but in some ways it's a better one, with string arrangements, horns and droning samples giving their songs added depth and resonance. Get well soon, Cerys - today's pop scene needs characters like you.
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