Release Date: Feb 12, 2013
Record label: Badman
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Lisa GermanoNo Elephants[Badman Recording Co; 2013]By Joshua Pickard; February 20, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetIt’s been almost 20 years since Lisa Germano released her hazy dream-pop opus Geek the Girl back in 1994. Her unique brand of then-4AD indie introspection hit a nerve among diehard critics and casual fans alike, and this surge of abrupt notoriety propelled her onto mainstream radio stations, a still relevant MTV, and many ‘94 year-end lists. Though her subsequent records never garnered the same level of critical and commercial success as that album, she never ceased to record and play shows of all sizes.
To call a Lisa Germano album delicate is akin to describing water as wet. Germano's songs are so intimate, both lyrically and sonically, that they can sometimes induce vertigo, especially when administered through headphones. No Elephants, her ninth studio outing, doubles down on that notion, offering up another dreamlike set of gossamer ballads that are made all the more impressionistic by a bevy of ambient samples (bees, cell phones), drum loops, and other assorted audio emissions, resulting in the listener having to come up with his/her own impressionistic assessments like "post-rain, pre-dawn bird feeder jams" or "this must be what the inside of a dollhouse sounds like.
Throughout the 1990s, Indiana songwriter Lisa Germano released a string of brilliant, incisive, criminally underheard records whose best lines landed like jokes told in airless rooms. "You wish you were pretty, but you're not/ Ha-ha-ha," she sang at the beginning of an excellent record with the cruelly ironic title Happiness. Like her plaintive-voiced contemporary Liz Phair, Germano's music is at once a critique and a celebration of femininity.
There has always been a kind of ornate misery to Lisa Germano’s music. She is best known for her ‘90s albums for dream-pop label 4AD, which had a rare combination of intricate beauty and unflinching challenge, a music box of nightmares. Even in their darkest moments, though, albums like Geek the Girl and Slide never felt hermetic. Germano may have been grappling with demons throughout her career, but she has always been a magnificent songwriter, with the ability to write pop songs as catchy, funny or bittersweet as “Way Below the Radio”, “Cancer of Everything” or “Crash”.