With her ninth album released this Fall on Youg God Records, Lisa Germano shows an unwithering talent for welcoming her audience into the darkest recesses of her grounds. We do like to lose ourselves.
It is Fall already and we find ourselves gifted with a set of seasonal ballads, all resonating with the crispy clutter of dead leaves, and the insinuating melancholy of days getting shorter. A soft piano/violin intro – sort of instrumental reprise of In the Maybe World’s “Red Thread” – will guide you through the forlorn lanes. But the sun is going down now, and the Indiana singer/songwriter is scattering her scarce yet striking effects and textures through the soudscape again. Her voice, breathy, direct and unflourished, has started the confession.
Frustration, impossible love, self-loathing, addictions, broken dreams and unspoken hopes. As always with Germano, this may at first sound like the making of a self-tortured teenager. Yet this is the work of a 50 year old woman, who has now been recording and touring for 18 years. Affectively immature, maybe, a chaotic journey through the music industry, depression indeed, and known issues with alcohol. Such facts may be of little interest to her faithful but limited audience. But if you are new in the neighborhood, they can show you the way through this short album. It is night now and “The Prince of Plati” is giving you a brilliant illustration of the lady’s skills for poignant secret-telling, a little poisoned gift, delicately laid in your ear with barely any reverb to protect you. She is sweet, somehow spontaneous, but unsettlingly indecent, and the more attention you give her the more it starts hurting.
In a little time, though, you may notice that composition and arrangements are at the same more daring and more formal, slightly reminiscent of her earlier records. A bit more folk, a few more kitties on the keyboard. And you will be awarded a little recess and talk the inarticulate language of our feline companions on “Suli-Mon”, one of her most playful piece. Yes, a few tracks here may not be as strong as we would like. Take the time to catch your breath during “Painting the Door”, for it is merely one of her usual destructured-electrolayers+impro-like-singing. But before then, you will have to walk through “Snow“.
It is the dead time of night, the coldest, the darkest, or it is the snowy landscape in winter, either-or, it spreads all around, monochrome, colorless, a saturated spread of emptiness, it is sad to the point of becoming stifling, it is so quiet that it infiltrates each and every of your nerves like strings. And it does win you. So take a deep breath, as the night draws to an end, you may finally get some sleep, being lulled into a “Cocoon”, in dreams, being again drawn to a place where you can find comfort. Let’s hope tomorrow it will sound clearer to you, for it is Fall only, and the nights are getting longer and colder, and there is lot of listening to Lisa Germano to do.
Listen to “Snow”
Buy Magic Neigbor on CD or LP on Young God Records