Liz Janes
Poison & Snakes
/asthmatic kitty; 2004/

more info:

I've been listening to this record for a while now, wondering what i was thinking of it. now you might say: this can't be a very good thing, is it? well, i'm still not sure.

Liz Janes comes from San Diego (i hear it used to have the world's most beautiful docks), she sings and plays guitar with buddies which include Pall Jenkins of The Black Heart Procession and Raymond Raposa of Castanets.

Wonderkiller is a great starter, catchy and old fashioned, half tradition, half guts. Streetlight is not really satisfying, it sounds like Liz and the band keeps on trying to ruin the song's impressive basis with bad lyrics and boring delivery for Janes and out of tune arrangements for the band. Poison & Snakes sounds like it's an old song from the 1910s and nobody over-does it so it's really good. Sets to Cleaning could have been a great clumsy song without her diva voice, which definitely sounds out of place here. Ocean sounds better, somewhere between PJ Harvey and Fiona Apple, with nothing but mute drums a cello and an acoustic guitar. Very impressive. Vine explodes and explodes well, with loud drums and angry guitars. Desert is a nice slowcore piece. I really like it when she's low key. Baby Song is a nice old fashioned folk song.

The whole album is like this, not really disappointing and almost satisfying. As if Liz Janes had troubles choosing her style, wanting to sound dusty and warm like Giant Sand, but most of the time her singing is flawlessly cold, preventing her otherwise impressive compositions from making the listener really feel their weight.

-Barbara H

/dec 15th 2004/