Lisa GermanoThe center of attention is Germano's voice July 12, 2006
In the Maybe World
Germano's music is so personal and unsettling that listeners‹even her longtime fans‹are not always prepared for it. Her harrowing 1994 album Geek the Girl, influenced by her own experiences as the target of a stalker, is easily one of the most disturbing albums I've heard, and her last album Lullaby for Liquid Pig, which explored alcohol and emotional dependencies, moved certain fans to mail her self-help literature.
On her seventh solo album, Germano contemplates escape and isolation ('Into Oblivion,' 'Moon in Hell') and mortality, including a song inspired by the drowning of Jeff Buckley ('Except for the Ghosts'). The album's arrangements are sparse, mainly piano-based with occasional violin and processed guitar tracks providing ghostly textures. The center of attention, however, is Germano's voice, which is breathy, sultry, and sometimes nearly delirious. Although her delivery suggests instability, teetering toward collapse, her tone isn't completely drenched in misery. Instead, there seems to be a calm acceptance of troubles, as she describes 'a lifetime full of wonder and the constant falling under' in the album's opener. There's both comfort and discomfort on In the Maybe World, which is as intimate as a phone call; while Lullaby for Liquid Pig seemed to be, for some listeners, a call for help, her stunning new album is an understanding response to such a call.