lisa germano / magic neighbor reviewGermanoÂ’s compositional talent on piano bears mention Â– her passages are sometimes brittle, sometimes brief, but completely engaging and mood-provoking. Sometimes the melodies swerve out of control along with veering tempo adjustments, but her reassuring vocal tones continually bring us back to the start.
pennyblackmusic.com / lisa torem
Lisa Germano: Magic Neighbor
Reviewed By: Lisa Torem
Label: Young God Records
Indiana-born singer-songwriter Lisa Germano’s second album ‘Magic Neighbor’ was produced after a period of self-examination and an unexpected musical awakening. The opener ‘Marypan’ contains instrumental melodies that twitter like fairy tales on wings and stream through violin passages. Like many of the subsequent tracks, Germano plays with time – some tunes are short like this one and others trail off into a nostalgic neverland.
‘To The Mighty One’ features her warm vocal drone – she rhapsodises about wanting to be in control - "Sitting all alone here/ waiting to be new/so I’ll make up a story/I am in control today." She explores this new feeling and then asks "How does it feel?/It’s a beautiful day." Her lyrics drift into non-sequitors and back to cohesive thought, all the while engaging us in liquid imagery embellished once more by strings and piano.
Germano’s compositional talent on piano bears mention – her passages are sometimes brittle, sometimes brief, but completely engaging and mood-provoking. Sometimes the melodies swerve out of control along with veering tempo adjustments, but her reassuring vocal tones continually bring us back to the start.
‘Simple’ suggests "Now that the day is done/I won’t see anyone" in the A' section and then in the B section, a cartoonish sound-scheme surprisingly takes over. ‘Kitty Train’ again pivots on dainty piano phrasings and a 'dish ran away with the spoon’ Mother Goose- like flavour.
‘ The Prince of Pati’ is a quivering ballad that asks, ‘Can’t we be happy just for today?/Can I cry on your shoulder, ok" As you can see this fairy-tale innocence threads through out the album.
‘A Million Times’ features Germano singing "We fell in love/We were caught/We had more fun when we were strangers." There’s uncluttered acoustic guitar and hushed harmonies underlying these words.
‘Magic Neighbor’ has a melody not too adrift from a Chopin etude, but the unconventional quixotic lyrics bring you back to our era; "He must be God/He can turn cats into furniture," she observes.
‘Suli-Man’ sounds like a Bela Bartok student study. Germano drives home a sturdy phrase as the piano prances about like Tinkerbelle surveying a muted fairy forest.
The fragile snails-pace of ‘Snow’ which segues into bitter dissonance is enchanting. And the closer, ‘Cocoon’ comes alive with timid, halting arpeggios as Germano whispers ‘Make the butterflies go away/Somewhere I can see them.’
This kind of Lewis Carroll word play against melodies as intricate as Queen Anne’s lace makes for a haunting collection.