Release Date: Dec 7, 2010
Record label: Asthmatic Kitty
Genre(s): Folk-Rock, Pop/Rock, Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Pop, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk, Psychedelic/Garage, Vocal Jazz
Genre-hopping, Indianapolis-based singer/songwriter Liz Janes' fourth studio album for Asthmatic Kitty plays fast and loose with traditional indie pop themes. While Say Goodbye is as warm, quirky, and likably precious as anything else on the Sufjan Stevens co-founded label, Janes infuses the collection with enough jazz and soul that it hardly belongs in the same section as Jookabox or Shapes and Sizes. Janes, who has been a member of, or shared the stage with, everyone from Stevens and the Castanets to Jandek and the Black Heart Procession, has the kind of voice that spills out like warm summer rain, and when she sticks to straight-up midtempo balladry (“I Don’t Believe,” “Bodies,” “Firefly,” “Time and Space”) the results are quietly stunning.
Liz Janes really got her career started when some of her music found its way to Sufjan Stevens, leading to her 2002 debut Done Gone Fire. The album highlighted both Janes’s ability to bring a weirdness to folk, and an ability to bring jazz influences and a strong sense of phrasing to her vocals. A few years later, she released the challenging Poison & Snakes, pushing the avant-folk and blues a little further.
With a career that has spanned more than ten years, Liz Janes still sounds determinedly visceral with her music on Say Goodbye. Most of the time, one should be able to gather everything intended by purely listening to the music. While that would be the ideal situation, outside forces creep in and influence our overall judgment. But Janes has taken to delivering a sense of pop and has married it to her tender singer-songwriter songs.