Cerys Matthews

Wednesday, October 4, 2006
3:40 PM

The Waterfront, Norwich

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The Waterfront, Norwich

When Cerys Matthews takes to the stage at the Norwich Waterfront she is clearly a world away from her beer-swilling Britpop past.

“I got lost in Tennessee for four years” she explains in a breathy Welsh accent, and you can just about believe it.

Songs from her 2003 solo debut album Cockahoop and the more recent Never Said Goodbye are definitely a departure from Sweet Catatonia, but her pop sensibilities leave her sounding more Beth Orton than the Dixie Chicks.

Matthews' voice is much more suited to the softer melodies of songs like Oxygen than it ever was to caterwauling anthems.

But she has not re-invented herself - there is still a swagger, not only in Matthews' own stage presence but in the songs themselves, something hinting at her pop past, something not prepared to let it slide into the ether.

She cajoles her audience through Cerys world, taking in a bass line echoing Stevie Wonder, some of Nashville's finest and a smattering of Nineties Tafia - “I wrote this one with Gruff Rhys from the Super Furries”.

Her jubilant presence on stage is testament to a woman who has settled into her place, calmly looked at what she can offer the world and gone out to beguile them with something that is soft and pretty, not innovative or exceptional.

And there is something very attractive about that.

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