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Lisa Germano - Magic Neighbor [Digipak] CD Cover Art

Lisa Germano - Magic Neighbor [Digipak] CD

Personnel: Sebastian Steinberg (baritone guitar).
Audio Mixer: Jamie Candiloro.
Starting with music box chimes and piano, Magic Neighbor shows once again that Lisa Germano knows about fragile, careful arrangements that bespeak something both precious and lost in equal measure. The skittering percussion underscoring "A Million Times" is almost as insect-sounding as train tracks, and the stripping back of words to their bare essentials in "Snow" suggest rather than fully paint meaning, are two standouts among many; Germano in full creative flight even as she portrays a world of potential dangers and hesitancy with a deliberation that's both assured and a touch concerned with the future. "To the Mighty One" flows between choruses and a sung, free-verse approach that unsurprisingly suggests rapture and nervousness in equal measure, with her invocation of the word "control" twice in a row a telling lyrical moment. The gentle formalism of "The Prince of Plati" makes for a surprising but strong anchor near the middle of the album, her question about whether she can "tell you a story" forms a lovely chorus, while her wordless aahs, which introduce lines after the short break, are viscerally powerful in a calm way. "Cocoon," with its words at the very end of the song -- including lines like "Make the butterflies go away" -- wraps up Magic Neighbor on a strong, distinct note. ~ Ned Raggett

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