Lisa Germano | Review | dave heaton

it's so stop-you-in-your-tracks transfixing

July 06

In the Maybe World

Lisa Germano is not the sort of musician who gets written about everywhere you look, or whose new record is going to be talked about by everyone you know. But maybe she should be, as each of her albums (Geek the Girl, Lullaby for Liquid Pig, and the others) is a work of vision, one where by putting it on you're entering a distinct place. Her songs are intimate and moving yet convey an odd, haunting mood, and she performs them in a raw, beguiling way.

All of that is especially true of In the Maybe World, to my ears her best album, and one of the few albums this year that I just can't turn away from or easily forget. The title alludes to the space between life and death, perhaps, and the songs themselves do contain a fair amount of allusions to death and disappearance and ghosts and other unreal beings (like fairies), though more than the words it's often the music and atmosphere that convey this unearthly feeling of floating or vanishing. At the same time, it isn't escape music, but has a strong physical presence; her singing is filled with longing and determination even as the music she plays ­ on piano, violin, and guitar ­ resembles a lullaby, a ghostly waltz or a slow-motion dream.

There's a hushed feeling to this incredibly stark album, like you're listening to a whisper. But it's so stop-you-in-your-tracks transfixing that it doesn't seem quiet in the way you might expect. Each song sweeps into the next in a romantic, shadowy, otherworldly way. It's unbelievably emotional music, to me, though I can't quite pinpoint why; it's certainly never for just one reason.

As I write I feel like I'm writing in circles, like my words are swallowing each other up and leaving behind a simple "I love this album." But maybe that's appropriate somehow.