Monday, June 15, 2009

Sad Songs Say So Much

I hesitate to say this album hit me like a thunderbolt because it's far too quiet an album for comparisons to thunder (though sadness does hang over Life On Earth like ominous thunderclouds). But Jesy Fortino's new album - her third as Tiny Vipers and second released on Sub Pop - did grab my attention on first listen and after several successive listens it has revealed great depths lyrically and the sparse instrumentation has not worn thin.

Fortino's voice is perfectly matched to her love-worn songs - it's tremulous and tender without being fragile. Her heart is broken but her soul is resilient. I can see her being left by a lover and choosing to straighten her shoulders and walk onward alone as she intimates on "Slow Motion":

I see his eyes are fading / a trail of angels / that's gone away / the world is leaving / where's it left you? / the world is leaving me too

I'm tempted to quote the song in its entirety and could easily quote many of the other lyrics on Life On Earth as Fortino's skill as a songwriter is exceptional. Rarely is the heartbreak of another person so heartbreaking to hear. And rarer still is a solo songwriter with a guitar deserving of more than a disinterested coffeehouse audience. My hope is that Tiny Vipers gains a giant audience.

Here's Fortino performing lead-off track "Eyes Like Ours" live at Public Access Media Studios:

Be sure to check out the Tiny Vipers Myspace page and official website.

Thanks for reading, now start listening...

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