Liz Janes has always managed to keep a step ahead of her
listeners. An apprentice in the world of punk, she abruptly shifted gears when
she managed to coax Sufjan Stevens into producing an early album. Likewise, a detour
into dreamy Americana
and then more experimental music offered little hint for whatever was to
With Say Goodbye,
Janes goes a long way towards defining herself, even though her new nocturnal
persona is mined from the haziest of circumstance. Combining the waifish,
languid drift of the Cocteau Twins and Belle and Sebastian, she provides a subtle
caress with an ethereal aura that’s part torch song, part starry-eyed
reflection. Yet despite her twee maneuvers and a deliberately delicate gaze,
Janes boasts a soaring soprano that glides into her upper registers,
particularly on “Firefly” and “Anchor.” And
when she snaps out of that hypnotic state to stir a cascading crescendo from
“Trees,” the results are surprisingly compelling.
Sometimes Janes can appear too precious for her own good.
The two part “Tincture,” with its celestial shimmer, sounds like Vangelis or
Tomita taking the helm of the New Age brigades, the music’s gentle lilt tending
to find Janes floating in the cosmos. It takes a close listen to uncover the
album’s rewards – and ultimately, Say
Goodbye provides a decidedly hushed hello.
“Anchor,” “Trees” LEE ZIMMERMAN