album reviews

Lisa Germano
In the Maybe World
Young God Records (2006)

Lisa Germano's career seems to ping-pong between the spotlight and the underground. Her solo efforts have been released on the ultra-mainstream Capitol and the uber-niche 4AD, and she has lent her violin and vocal prowess to artists such as John Mellencamp (1987's "Lonesome Jubilee") and Sheryl Crow (1998's "Globe Sessions") and to OP8, a side project with the members of Giant Sand and Calexico. But Germano seems to have taken her spotlight-shunning side to a greater extreme on her latest solo album, "In the Maybe World," released on Young God Records, a small label run by ex-Swans leader Michael Gira.

Germano's voice is at once heavy and breathy; her scratchy moan grounds the otherwise ethereal "Too Much Space," while the lugubrious sluggishness of the title track captures weariness and wisdom. Even the glimmer of optimism on the album's final track, "After Monday," can't shake the overall pensiveness that encompasses "World."

Luckily, her airy coo turns even the harshest of sentiments into a lullaby; her repeated murmur "Go to hell / [expletive] you" on "Red Thread" sounds so much like a calm exhalation and inhalation of breath that her coarse words melt away -- particularly at the song's sighing conclusion of "I love you / I love you, too."

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 20 October 2006, Page WE11
.: In the Maybe World on