Lisa Germano | Reviewher best material casts an entrancing spell July 21 '06
IN THE MAYBE WORLD
Lisa Germano has played violin with David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, and John Mellencamp -- that's her sawing away on "Paper in Fire" -- but her own material hews closer to Sam Phillips, with fragmented songs that sound like staticky, incomplete transmissions from decades ago. Her seventh solo album finds her not just cracked but shattered, childlike and world-weary at the same time. There's a downcast feel that goes beyond mere sadness into a sort of unquenchable existential ache that's most prominent in "Into Oblivion," which describes a place she yearns for, rather than a place she fears. Built around Germano's spare, somnambulant piano and guitar, the sound of "In the Maybe World" falls in shards, complete with ambient noises like the rattling of the instruments and the creaking of her piano bench. If it's hard to tell where the songs are headed; that's fine, since Germano might not know either. The electric piano/violin coda of "Moon in Hell" seems to catch her off-guard as much as the listener. It can make for some trying listening at times, and songs such as "In the Land of Fairies" and "Red Thread" play bad lyrical conceits into the ground. But when Germano hits, her best material casts an entrancing spell.