Thursday, August 3, 2006
LISA GERMANO | In the Maybe World | Young God
In the annals of indie dysfunction, few singer/songwriters have plumbed the poetics of self-loathing as rigorously as Lisa Germano has. Since 1991, when the former John Mellencamp violinist released her solo debut, she’s been singing about feeling fat, getting trashed, and being duped by herself and others.
Like her last CD, the exquisite addiction log Lullaby for Liquid Pig, In the Maybe World is fragile and almost impossibly slow, a dreamy concatenation of keening strings, reverberant piano, and Germano’s sinus headache of a contralto punctuated by analog hiss, mysterious noises, and spells of total silence. Although Joey Waronker plays barely-there drums on a couple of tracks, Sebastian Steinberg adds bowed bass, and ex-Smiths legend Johnny Marr supplies some glorious guitar shudders, most of the music is played by Germano, who also produced the record. This insularity suits her well; the full-out band treatment would puncture these glistening soap bubbles.
The comically grumpy “In the Land of Fairies” is the sonic corollary to delirium tremens, a minor-key piano ballad that rolls and pitches like a drunkard’s bed; the vaguely Neil Young-ish “Red Thread” finds her chanting obscene imperatives before closing with a non sequitur.
The album is very much of a piece, each close-to-the-mic confessional trembling in the stillness like a mirage, its meaning accrued over time, in hazy layers. —Rene Spencer Saller
LOVERBOY | Get Lucky | Columbia/Legacy
I say this without even the slightest taste of sarcasm, facetiousness or psuedo-hip irony: this long forgotten (or repressed) piece of ‘80s magic has actually accrued a bit o’ value since 1981 and is a genuine pop classic.
This “25th Anniversary Edition” has been lovingly re-mastered by Paul Dean (band member) but not so much that it buries its charm—completely pukey synth parts and Cheez-Whiz guitar sections topped off by a lead singer whose calling card has to be his complete lack of restraint. What makes this an irresistible document, however, is that these are expertly-crafted songs with something to say, in their own “regular guy” fashion.
When they try to be anything but that “hurt working stiff” they fall on their faces, as the album cut “Gangs In The Street” illustrates. But the mega-hit “Working For The Weekend” proves that when the sons of the working class write about their lives and peers without sentiment (or trying to be Brooooce!) they can hit the target.
This also includes “When It’s Over,” “Emotional” and “Take Me To The Top” and was more or less their apex, what with their singer co-starring on the treacle-standard “Almost Paradise” after this and Bon Jovi one-upping them at their own game five years later. I kid you not when I suggest you re-visit this, it’s actually wondrous in its way. —Johnny Angel
COLETTE & DJ HEATHER | House of Om | Om Records
House of Om is a two-disc set from Colette and DJ Heather, with each woman exploring a different side of mainstream house music. Colette’s disc incorporates lots of pop vocals, most of them sung by the classically trained singer herself on lovelorn numbers like “What Will She Do for Love” (Andy Caldwell mix). Her set is bright and melodic, and builds on rousing cuts like Rockers Revenge’s “Walking on Sunshine” and Craig David’s “All the Way” (Sandy Rivera remix). In contrast, DJ Heather’s disc is deep, funky and rhythmic, a 4/4 equivalent to minimal techno, and the beats per minute are fast-paced. Some will find DJ Heather’s predominately instrumental set monotonous, while others will be inspired to reminisce of club memories past and future. —Mosi Reeves