Review Summary: Streetlight eccentricity.
For her second full-length, self-proclaimed "seasoned singer, songwriter, and performer" Liz Janes has opted for the jugular. Our lady chariot has come a long way since her days as a pavement-dwelling youngster; since then, she's dipped her toes into a mossy pool here, busked on a roadside there; even blazed down a rundown interstate on nothing more than a bespectacled jalopy. This is the fable of a girl who grew up making piano recitals in American suburbs, sneaking off to jazz clubs in PA, and later blossoming in the fertile music-ville of Olympia. A swell of self-discovery lies in the record's infectious, pandering instrumentals. Eventually, a portrait of Janes' own individuality starts to emerge; fittingly, it sounds like it is told by the fading light of embers and amidst the distant rumbles of a long-forgotten country doo-wop twang.
Title track "Poison & Snakes" twists and swirls like a far-off storm, "Wonderkiller" is a slow jam that sounds like it has been recorded on a garrote-wire, and the lo-fi stereo of "Go Between" comes closest to approximating the steady burn of an oxygen-deprived paraffin lamp. To refer to this album as what it is - a neatly-choreographed, succulent country waltz - while accurate, is putting things a tad too lightly. Indeed, as numbers like "Desert" and "Baby Song" prove, Poison & Snakes
is also quite the stately creature. Even further along the album, other numbers like "Sets To Cleaning" add a bit of anarchy into the equation simply by managing to be fiery, noisy, and joyous all at once.
But the real magic here, behind all the sound and fury, is the omnipresent aura of an artist that is on the verge of breaking-out. It may have taken her all of three years, but Janes is slowly coming to terms with her new-found auditory sensuality, and has seen fit to celebrate the occasion with a goulash of contemporary adult indie. For this release, time is immaterial; no matter how old you are, Poison & Snakes
will make you feel like you're on the verge of thirty-five - as it puts some much-needed glitter into your blood.