Saturday, 3 October 2009

A Brief Declaration of Love

September 22nd 2009 was a special date for mankind. Was it the release of those live shots from Jackie Chan’s new film? No. Was it the leaked details of (another) alleged terror plot on the Pentagon? No. On this Marvellous Monday, Lisa Germano released her latest album, Magic Neighbor.

From the avant-garde wilderness of the American indie scene and the backwater plantations of 1990s alt-rock, there is but one defining female artist of the period. Someone who stands miles ahead of the competition and who smirks serenely from the untouchable echelons of her own sky-high plateau of brilliance. Unsurprisingly, her name is Lisa Germano.

Her music speaks to the listener with a wrenching honesty, communicating complex ideas on a direct and personal level, helping the listener on their treacherous traipse down life’s lonesome highways and byways. Throughout the 1990s, she released a canon of peerless work: dark, beautiful records driven by glorious violins, eerily childish vocals, and haunting synthesisers.

In the finest of her compositions, the lushness of her instrumentation and the naked emotion in the vocals synthesise in perfect unison, lending an otherworldly power to her music. The greatest example of this is in her finest song: the uplifting Around the World (below).

Starting with a synth drone over murky bongo percussion, the song breaks into an everglade of opaque guitars and distant violins, building softly as this gentle tearjerker explodes into magnificent array of colours. Over the almost spiritual rise of the guitars, Germano drawls: “I got to feel my way around the world.”

Indeed. See, doubtful reader, these songs were emotional watermarks for me. Before I heard Germano, I was conscious of this ability to feel things, but it took her remarkable talent to open me up to the full emotional palette available to me: disgust, shame, disgrace, self-hatred, horror, and occasional splashes of love and affection. So, for that, I say – thank you, Lisa Germano.

She should be a millionaire. Her latest album explores her gothic folk side – woozy lullabies of death, murder and inevitability. Terrific.

Worship her.

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