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Dark Lullabies

Lisa Germano

Lisa Germano - Lullaby for Liquid Pig
(Ineffable Records)
3 1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Mar. 15, 2003

Review by Tony Bonyata

The album cover of Lisa Germano's fifth studio album, Lullaby for Liquid Pig, features a slightly out-of-focus, black-and-white image of a sleeping (or hypnotized, or, worse yet, deceased) women in a simple white dress, floating horizontally three feet from the floor in an empty white room. This stark, creepy image is the perfect introduction to the equally mysterious and haunting compositions that immediately envelops it's listener like an intoxicating mist.
Trained on violin as a child, Germano began her career as a violinist for John Mellencamp's band. She went on to perform with other musical giants such as David Bowie, Neil Finn and the eels. After realizing that the 'big rock thing' wasn't for her, she decided to cut her first record in 1991. On the Way Down From The Moon Palace, was an album which dealt with, as Germano explained, "coming down from living off other people's successes to the place where you have to be."
Now with Lullaby for Liquid Pig it seems that she's finally found that place. A place that is not only warm and ethereal, but eerie and unsettling at the same time. Instead of working on other big name act's material as she's done in the past, Germano has instead brought the talent to her, securing artists such as Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Neil Finn (Crowded House), Sebastian Steinberg (Soul Coughing) and Joey Waronker (Beck) to add, not star-studded solos, but splashes of color to the many sepia-stained shadows cast throughout the album.
The tone of the album is immediately set by the first track "Nobody's Playing," where Germano croons in a smokey cabaret voice, "Circles and circles, places to drown. All that you feel, is you're going down," over a lilting piano melody, while whispers of discontent float above it all. During the chorus of "Paper Doll," Germano invokes a lush and longing vocal delivery reminiscent of Radiohead's Thom Yorke, while a ghostly, child-like melody briefly appears on "Pearls."
On one of the more pop infused numbers, "It's Party Time," Germano's sandy voice conjures up the dark sides of rock chanteuses Marianne Faithful and Nico, albeit with a spoonful of more sweetness and innocence. And its the company of these two women's work that Germano's bleak, introspective and, at times, disturbing music seems to bond closest to.
This is deep, dark hallucengetic stuff to be sure. But more than anything its harrowingly beautiful music that once you've heard it, you won't be able to escape it.

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