Lullaby for Liquid Pig
2003; r: 2007
emember ARTISTDirect? I’m sure anyone with a web connection and a jones for music in the mid ‘90s has some recollection. They’ve been throwing shit at the wall for years now, but in 2003 they did a great thing. They helped bring Lisa Germano back from the dead. Well, they agreed to help bring Lisa Germano back from the dead. Whatever. The details are silly. All you need to know is that they were instrumental in putting out Lullaby for Liquid Pig.
Sadly, the label they were propping up quickly folded after the release of Lullaby and, for many years, you’d be hard-pressed to find it anywhere. Young God, Germano’s new home, has undertaken to right this wrong (with a bonus disc of live recordings and demos tacked on, no less) and, if I may editorialize, God bless them for doing so.
Most fans of Germano swear by Geek the Girl, but that record’s sonics always felt a little weird to these ears, unnecessarily distancing the listener to the horrors of her lyrics. Lullaby, on the other hand, is an unabashed home recording. Germano sounds dangerously close, creeping through beds of underwater strings, accidental guitar fuck-ups, and a bevy of warped bells and synths. Germano has said in the past that she often drinks and smokes before recording her vocals and it’s never been more apparent, as her hushed voice seems to be craggy and broken-down even as it works its way through the album’s fragile melodies.
Aside from Germano, the liners’ll tell you that Neil Finn, Johnny Marr, Joey Waronker, and Wendy Melvoin all worked on Lullaby. To be honest, I can’t hear any of them. If that’s Marr plucking his guitar on “Into the Night,” for instance, you should feel a right to be unimpressed. Most of the guitar, drums, violin, etc. are all here to establish mood—Germano’s lyrics of loss and fear, as always, are the major draw.
That’s hardly a change from past efforts. Germano is still singing about how “hate will grow into someone you know” and how her “favorite feeling” is “not there,” only to be pinned down by the realization that “it’s still raining inside” as a carnival calliope wheezes to life. The difference here is in how Lullaby fits together as one long track, hurtling inexorably to its end. Lullaby is an album that deserves to be listened to late at night, under cover of darkness, straight through again and again.
Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2007-07-20