Although some still think of her as the woman who used to wear baggy denim overalls and pluck the fiddle in John Mellencamp's backing band, Lisa Germano now finds herself in sympathetic artistic company. She's come into her own as the aesthetic dysfunctional soul-sister to the eels' E, Michael Penn, Beck and the rest of the creative freaks who gravitate toward the Los Angeles nightclub Largo. These days, that bizarre stage of her life isn't even a speck in her rearview mirror. This record does not r-o-c-k in the U-S-A.
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Instead, the sparse musical arrangements for songs such as "From a Shell" and "Into the Night" throw the whole traditional band template out the window; there are barely any drums on this record at all. Germano's distinctive voice is all that really matters here, as her words levitate over the rhythmic twitching of what sounds like some sort of broken, dying industrial machine way off in the distance. She leads us by hand through this haunted house of mirrors, careful to invoke an ambient vocal nuance that sounds immediate, honest and real. "To Dream" and "All the Pretty Lies" deal specifically with the absolution of guilt, the rebirth of the natural spirit and the aspiration of peace found through self-discovery. It's a lot cheaper than a trip to the shrink.