30 April 2011

Lady Lazarus - mantic (Apartment Life, 2011)

Small parts of Azalia Snail, Lisa Germano, of The Dust Dive, maybe Pram, Grouper and Kickball too, Lady Lazarus's music is haunted and haunting.

Basically, these are songs Melissa Ann Sweat (from Savannah, Georgia) sings with reverb while playing piano, organ-like keyboard or accordion in an almost trance state. It is cheap and lo-fi, home recorded on a four-track, and not so original or extraordinary, but "Mantic" is a captivating album.

From start to finish, you're engulfed in her strange atmospheres, soft and blurry, pensive and spontaneous, often moving and exuding some despair and malaise, transcending these in a siren way.

When "Nazarite Oath" you just want to listen and sit, entering the landscape. A first stop in your travel will be "The eye in the eye of the storm", where she manages to capture something strangely oneiric, with the same piano notes played over and over again, a breathing loop sometimes more intense, sometimes more quiet, as a mantra.

She isn't looking for the intensity of a particular melody, and her songs are mostly developed, stretched framework, and almost each song has got a particular strong part both diluted and emphasized in its length. Sometimes it turns into something nicely poignant, like with "Fighting Words & Fists" or "Half-life", and we can feel how her songs are guiding her, as she is following their guidelines both as inspiration and as necessity to keep breathing 

And you can feel she is exploring her own songwriting along the way, digging to find some gems, almost surprised by how much simple and inexplicably graceful they can be,  just like "Sick Child", "Midnight Music for a Broken Heart Condition" or "What it's like".

So "Mantic" is a type of work in progress, a milestone on her artistic development, and while you can feel some hesitation on a track like "I Couldn't Find Me In Anything", it is also mixed with an undeniable and particular talent.

A comforting album.


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