Review Summary: A tincture, a fracture, a mixture; a master.
It all happens without much fanfare: Liz Janes sets her deconstructivist take on public domain songs firmly within the trunk of her beaten-up Cadillac, spares a quick wave farewell to Create (!), and then hurtles away into the heart of the nearest tall and open scrubland. As night falls, she scuttles along like a swashed crab on a shoreline, constantly performing mankind's impersonation of an erstwhile chameleon's bravado and hoping that this - her attempted gambit - works. As the world rolls away beneath the night, her heartfelt prayer for another auditory success is faintly but clearly heard above the onrushing din; who would have guessed that the gods would be listening so intently?
Without digging through the trenches of calculus and advanced physics, it is extremely strange to note how the fourth dimension is occasionally able to pervade certain records; some albums - like Van Morrison's Astral Weeks
- give off the sensation that there were only six hours in the entire universe for it to be recorded in. Then there are those like Say Goodbye
, which suggest that there is never a need for hurry, and that the temporal date d'echeances
is nothing more than an otherworldly illusion. It is within this tinseled construct that Say Goodbye
attempts to connect to our inner chi; Janes' fourth studio effort is heartbreakingly hopeful, and it is a work which begs - nay, yearns
- to be listened to again and again. Album opener "I Don't Believe" is a buttery horn-backed passage, rife with repeated instances of Janes' soothing and strangely longing vocals; this stunning opening salvo is quickly followed-up by "Tincture 1"'s dreamy, harp-like trappings, which in turn pander into the quiet depths of "Bitty Thing". Janes' attempt to make her record as human as possible does not go unnoticed. The questioning melancholy that pervades the album is not only impossible to ignore, but also lush and delightful; the prospect of a devastating explosion of aqueous greenery has never been more welcome.
But perhaps the most remarkable thing about the whole record is how it successfully evades the unfortunate pitfall of pretentiousness; Janes' trained hands skillfully navigate her moorland soundscape, roiling from dream to dream like a slumbering patient comfortably etherized upon a table. In fact, only once does Janes betray her hand; at the end of our forty minute adventure, it eventually transpires that the whisperings of the final track will be our sole glimpse into her soul. In a great burst of cathartic release she reveals that, "Time and space are constructs of grace/That keep us in our sanity". As Janes concludes this surprisingly bionic thesis of hers, it is exceedingly hard to not let out an inward sigh; never has bliss weighed so heavily upon the soul.