Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Lisa Germano’s albums have always had an almost indefinable interior beauty.
Since her critical breakthrough, Happiness (1993), Germano has carefully and quietly crafted an oeuvre that has a dreamlike demeanor. Germano’s ghostly melodies and ethereal affectations have sensitivity similar to Fiona Apple (a kindred spirit) and Kate Bush (an antecedent and probable influence). Listening to Germano’s latest, the 35-minute, 12-track No Elephants, is akin to rediscovering a sepia-suffused memory via a flash drive. This is music with an ambiguous, hallucinatory creativity, where nuance and impressionism are hallmarks rather than detriments.
The sparse arrangements, which blend found sounds (bees, animals, cell phones) with weaving electronics (shadowy loops, soft digital effects), accentuate Germano’s anomalous voice and her surrealistic lyrics, which examine the offensive nature of ennui (ambient pop cut “Apathy and the Devil”), the end of the world (piano ballad “Up in the Air”) and exploitation (hushed waltz “Diamonds”). While Germano’s thematic topics are characteristically dusky, there is an underlying desire for bittersweet endurance; no matter what occurs, life continues.