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Lisa Germano – Magic Neighbor

"Magic Neighbor"

Lisa Germano – Magic Neighbor
03 December 2009, 10:00 Written by
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lisagermano_coverWaiting three years between albums seems to be suiting Lisa Germano. Magic Neighbor weighs in at just over 30 minutes (that’s 10 minutes a year, fact fans) but ”“ much like the musical arrangements ”“ doesn’t have an ounce of fat on it.Anyone familiar with her work will be immediately at home: sparse structures elegantly enriched with piano and strings, with lyrical melancholy and breathy vocal fragility in spades. It’s darkly beautiful, but musically playful ”“ emotional upheavals already experienced and at least partly recovered from are delivered with a wry and knowing wink.Unlike her earlier 4AD efforts, such as Happiness, Magic Neighbor is far less poppy. But it has that same fractured quality of ideas never quite fully realised; the tracks here often don’t feel like complete songs, rather snatches of ideas sketched and unveiled without the need to polish them into recognised structures. There’s a confidence about this that’s immediately endearing and demands you listen closely, which admittedly may put some people off. More fool them.There’s a soundtrack quality to the album, and not simply because of the dreamy, space-inducing feel of the instruments on show (largely piano and violin). The album is her second to be released on former Swans frontman Michael Gira’s label (Young God Records) and he comments in the liner notes, “her music reminds me of Disney songs ”“ fuzzy and dreamy”. It’s an interesting observation, and while I’m no expert on Disney soundtracks her mischievous style of songwriting certainly has a childlike, experimental and carefree feel that draws away from the underlying mournfulness of the lyrics. And the dream like quality is emphasised by the liberal use of strange little buzzes and bells, clangs and echoes, which deeply permeate the album.Until now, I’ve always thought of her Inconsiderate Bitch EP to be the peak of Germano’s output: powerful and brooding, guitar heavy one minute and fragile the next. However, Magic Neighbor is so different, yet so good, it comfortably sits alongside it as a worthy addition to an already impressive canon.

Buy the album from Amazon | [itunes link="http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/painting-doors/id328281964?uo=4" title="Lisa_Germano-Magic_Neighbor_(Album)" text="iTunes"]

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