Liz Janes
Poison and Snakes


3.5
great

Review

by Irving Tan STAFF
February 25th, 2011 | 43 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

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.



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user ratings (1)
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This was a bit of an experiment in writing; it probably doesn't have much merit as an objective review, but do let me know how it turned out.

Cheers folks!

fr33convict
February 26th 2011


11703 Comments


too short neg

jk

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haha thanks fr33.

But yeah this review is...weird.

pizzamachine
February 26th 2011


12572 Comments


Nice review! A bit confusing but it makes me happy : )

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A bit confusing but it makes me happy : )

Explain kintups! I is no understanding! =)

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


16916 Comments


I'm not sure if the review doesn't make sense or if I'm too dumb to understand it. It sounds good though.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't think it's just you Sowing. The review is rather vague (intentionally I might add). In fact, I'm not entirely sure why I decided that writing a review as detached and thesis-free might be a good idea.

Ultimately, I guess this review was just a stylistic experiment - I was inspired by Kirgasm's Illinoise review, and I wanted to see if I could manufacture the same sort of pseudo-existential psychobabble lol. Immona say "apparently not".

Neg. Haha.

pizzamachine
February 26th 2011


12572 Comments


Wellll Ving the images are keen but there's quite a few I don't understand. Like... "pavement-dwelling youngster"?? Yeah you're right pretty vague.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


16916 Comments


A for effort, review is by no means bad i just dont know what to make of it.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

HAHAHAHAHAHA yeah for that one I was just like "Okay, what are two nouns and a verb that are completely unrelated...HMMM" and I came up with "pavement", "dwelling", and "youngster". LOL.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


31615 Comments


This is a great review and your descriptions are ace, but I think you need to explore the sound a bit more. You sort of mention 2-3 tracks but there's no sense where this album truly lies. I wouldn't say the reviews confusing (probably because I tend to use a lot of imagery as well) but aside from your small interpretations I can't quite gauge what it all adds up to

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i just dont know what to make of it.

That makes two of us, SS. I've been eyeballing Kirgasm's again, and his sounds less...babbly, even if it is as undirected as this one.

Sorry for wasting your time with my random and obtuse experimentation guys XD Haha!

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


31615 Comments


I don't see how pavement dwelling youngsters is complicated to read in any way. It makes me think of people just sitting around watching the world travel on past them. And of the homeless

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


16916 Comments


seems unnecessarily complicated but thats kind of how i write so i like it. i dunno i legitimately have never had mixed feelings about a review to this extent

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

but aside from your small interpretations I can't quite gauge what it all adds up to

That's really good criticism, Dev - and I think you're absolutely right. Aside from my name-dropping "country doo-wop twang" and "slow jam" there isn't really anything indicative in this review. And I may have overdone the metaphors a bit too.

I think I'll come back and fix this in the morning. I may have botched this review a little, but it has been a good learning experience. Thanks a lot guys - I really appreciate your thoughts.

pizzamachine
February 26th 2011


12572 Comments


It makes me think of

That's key. I personally remembered older movies about teenagers having fun and driving around in fast cars.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It makes me think of people just sitting around watching the world travel on past them. And of the homeless

Deviant can read into my soul.

Let's hold hands. Haha.

@ Sowing: I don't blame you mate. This review is probably next to useless in "real world reviewing", but it was an interesting exercise. I'm also intrigued that Dev seems to feel that there may be some merit in having extra-diffuse descriptions. I think I'll return to this style of writing again sometime, but for now I'll just focus on straight-up information delivery and standard technical analysis.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


7321 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I personally remembered older movies about teenagers having fun and driving around in fast cars.

That is VERY interesting. Hmmm. When I read that phrase I think of a little girl blowing bubbles by a dusty roadside, her abandoned sandbox in the background. With a rustic swing creaking in the background.

Tyrael
February 26th 2011


20972 Comments


Nice and short. I hope we get a special treat for your 40th?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 26th 2011


6339 Comments


well written, but i agree with what Deviant said earlier.

Digging: Madred - Supersonic Brainfuck Overdrive



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