Lisa Germano has been a ubiquitous presence in the alternative rock supplementing cast (Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie, Eels, Neil Finn and Giant Sand amongst several) over the past quarter century, while attaining critical acclaim for her solo work. Lullaby for Liquid Pig was originally issued in 2003 but disappeared from print quickly due to label difficulties. Young God have, however, picked it up for re-release. Understandably, Germano recorded it with help from some esteemed friends. Johnny Marr, Finn, and Joey Waronker are among the supporting cast.
Lullaby is a subtle record. If it’s a concept album then the exact specifics defeat me. Motifs relating to sleep, loss, childhood, loneliness, homecoming, and warmth crop up throughout. The production is functional and frill free. Like Devendra Banhart’s Oh Me Oh My the sonic constraints complement the material. Here access is made easier by a creaking intimacy that portrays the ambiguity and nuances of these songs in an apt frame.
There are moments where the album imprints itself on the consciousness by force of sheer confinement. “Nobody’s Playing,” feels like a cup of coffee after a walk through autumnal frost bite. The after effect is mournful and whimsical. Large swathes of the album seem akin to coming to terms with time-deprivation birthed worries, like those moments where the brain switches into down time. “Paper Doll” recalls Cat Power at her most redemptive. “Liquid Pig” reverberates with the kind of muted sparseness that Tricky provided on Pre-Millennium Tension. The distortion adds a slightly eruptive effect in the place of sinister polish.
Once Germano has lured you in, there are some really beautiful moments. “Candy” is like Sheryl Crow or Fiona Apple literally stuck between stations, Casio beats and Syd Barrett biographic invading. Germano is “gone to the feeling peculiar,” and it’s her “favourite thing.” She concludes “too bad I got nowhere today,” but thankfully it’s an admittance from which she moves on. “It’s Party Time” is exceptional. The opening declaration is lyrical gold dust:
“There’s too much of me/ and not all the people/ I want to be/ $9.99/ a pretty good wine/ a beautiful time…”
I can imagine Regina Spektor doing this kind of thing after several more albums. When Germano sings “I don’t mean anything,” it causes the listener to think about why an uplifting feeling exists.
This re-issue is accompanied by the wonderfully named Extra CD for Pig. While definitely a supplement, hearing the even starker clatter and constraint of the home recordings is welcome after the album, with comfort emphasised. Germano’s interludes on the live performances are entertaining as the material is elusive and immersing. Young God should be applauded for stepping up to re-issue relatively soon after the original release. Lullaby for Liquid Pig deserves more exposure.
Tricky – Pre-Millennium Tension
Regina Spektor – Mary Anne Meets the Gravediggers and Other Short Stories
Devendra Banhart – Oh Me Oh My…