one faint deluded smile

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Love Is Everything

That's some 'do, Jane

Jane Siberry's PR face has always had this weird painted doll look, crossed with a touch of royal blankness. You'll see her staring fixedly out of the covers of her albums as if she's no more than a mannequin and, most often, her gaze is averted as if her she's worried about being the new Medusa (and looking at the hair in the picture above, maybe that's exactly what should concern her).

All of which proves nothing, ofcourse, as her music is warm, layered and personal, tinged with wry sadness and an occasional smile. Unfortunately she's Canadian and so , like all other female singer-songwriters from this country, is always compared back to Joni Mitchell with whom she shares very little, either lyrically or sonically. But that's life in the bad old music biz, eh?

mp3: Bound By The Beauty
This is the title track from her 3rd album and the template's firmly in place. A keening, angelic voice with a slight country twang; melodies that seem to come straight out of the air; a sympathetic, professional band (who lean too far onto the side of good manners) and lyrics that are obviously personal but whose full meanings are hidden behind complication.

mp3: Sail Across The Water
One of the Eno produced tracks from her most well known album "When I Was A Boy" where she discusses, ad-infinitum, all the aspects of love she can possibly think of. The song builds quietly for a long time then expands gently and then continues building again. Another gorgeous melody, right on the cusp of M.O.R., just where I like 'em.

mp3: Honey Bee
After the success of her last album she reacts by making an album full of jazz inflections with a small, intimate band that ends with a short verion of "mary had a little lamb" followed by 2 minutes of silence and then a 20 minute improvisation called "oh my my". The record company released it but let her go and so she started her own internet based record company - Sheeba.

mp3: Up The Loggin' Road
By this stage I'd become slightly obsessed with Ms Siberry and so purchased her "New York Trilogy" of live recordings hoping for a return to the less jazzy song based music I adored. But this hope was only to be partially realized. ...Road is an infectious song of joy and memory that sits amongst a lot of arty performance stuff which doesn't really connect with me. (nb - the mp3 doesn't fade out)

After this she seemed to go into areas that I neither wanted to hear nor was interested to follow - Christmas songs, choral music, lullabys. It all seemed so dissapointing, really. I suppose should go out and buy her early albums but can't raise my head above the years of ennui.

Jane Sibery's official website is here. It's a messy labyrinth but well worth a look. All her CDs are currently available.

7 Comments:

  • thank you so much. my fave of the 4 tracks is "honey bee". her voice is crystal-clear and reminds me of mary margaret o'hara (?). i have the feeling it works best in jazzy late-night environments.

    By Blogger Alexander, at 9:14 am  

  • yes, her voice is suited to jazz because it's so well oiled - she flits about constantly.

    By Blogger Phil, at 6:05 am  

  • Phil, thanks for reminding me of Siberry's existence again. I've had an old mp3 of Calling All Angels (what is it with her and angels?!) on my iPod for years without ever thinking to listen further -- I guess I lost track of her around When I Was A Boy.

    I'd never heard the Up The Loggin Road track before -- bouncy, tasty, nicely enjoyable (and of course it's not on iTunes). But you're missing my favourite, Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog... (OK, it's a silly song. Sorry. But it's jaunty and funny at least...).

    By Blogger Jimmy Little, at 3:56 pm  

  • "dog" - i was going to post this instead of the more sombre title track but didn't think it was indicative enough of the album. but her obvious humour is often ignored - there's none on "when i was a boy" but the rest always have snatches of comic relief.

    By Blogger Phil, at 7:37 am  

  • One thing I miss in the later songs is that combination of bouncy rhythms, dark lyrics, and humour that really makes a song like Bound By The Beauty work (as much as in Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog, a song I've been unable to get out of my head for the past 48 hours...). I think during that period she's more comparable to kd lang than that other Canadian compatriot, the sainted Joni.

    The arc from that early sharp style to the later fluffy (dare I use the word "twee" again?) stuff seems a little puzzling, but then she's not out to interest people like me, I guess (understatment...). There's a thin line between "eclectic" and "dog's breakfast"...

    By Blogger Jimmy Little, at 6:06 am  

  • she does seem to be out to please herself rather than anyone else. and there's a determined fan base who will follow her up any noodly path.

    By Blogger Phil, at 7:05 am  

  • By Blogger صقر المملكة, at 1:22 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home