Lisa Germano | Review | Josh Honn

a beautiful and experimental monster that wouldn't harm a soul but certainly will touch more than a few

In the Maybe World
July 17/06

To say that I was a bit shocked to find out Lisa Germano was releasing an album on Michael Gira's famed Young God Records imprint would be an understatement. Young God has been responsible in the past several years for introducing the world to previously relatively obscure acts like Devendra Banhart, Akron/Family and Mi and L'au. Of course, all of these acts had previous musical lives before Gira but Germano has been releasing records to critical acclaim since the 90s, most notably on the then powerhouse 4AD imprint, and has throughout her career collaborated with such luminaries as Giant Sand, Calexico, David Bowie, Iggy Pop and even non-luminary Sheryl Crow. But while Gira has a special ear for relatively new acts who then go on to bigger and better things, he has no qualms about releasing a grizzled
veteran's latest album. And it is a good thing he did.

Lisa Germano's "in the maybe world" is completely self-produced. From pure piano to experimental synth and subtle glitches, "in the maybe world" sounds almost like a series of happy accidents that are pieced together to make stunningly gorgeous music. To the untrained ear, at first listen Germano's music may sound ever-so simple but between the headphones or after several spins one comes to realize that Germano is much more than just a pretty voice and face. In fact, her production is so softly avant-garde that it would be a shame not to listen to this seemingly quiet and lush record through loud speakers or high-grade headphones. Germano's "in the maybe world" may be the most hushed album you would want to listen to like one would listen to a booming psych-rock masterpiece.

In an admittedly odd comparison, it would be great to have a dual release of this album much in the way of the first Dr. Octagon album or some of The Microphones releases where there existed a purely instrumental version.  This is not to say that Germano is not a quality vocalist or lyricist, she is indeed quite good, but not overwhelming or even original sounding by any means. The most amazing facet of "in the maybe world" is what is happening around and behind her voice. Without her voice one could more easily appreciate just how far this record actually goes. Thankfully, Germano's voice is never the focal point most singer/songwriter's would force it to be and while her interaction with the music leaves something to be desired it does work.

Ultimately,"in the maybe world" is an album with a Frankensteinian sonic production that when combined with the almost jaded and placid vocals (which starkly contrasts with the lyrical content on songs like Red Thread where she repeatedly tells a lover, "fuck you, go to hell") creates a beautiful and experimental monster that wouldn't harm a soul but certainly will touch more than a few.