Saturday, 29 August 2009

Tiny Vipers - Life On Earth, A Glowing Review by Erol Sabadosh

Jesy Fortino’s sophomore album, created under her stage moniker Tiny Vipers, is an aesthetically minimalist yet potentially exhausting record in terms of length, pacing and subject matter. Opener Eyes Like Ours sets the tone for the majority of the album’s nine proceeding tracks; Fortino’s quivering voice reverberating atop finger-picked guitar lines that wander back and forth without a rhythm section to tie them down. It’s a long and sprawling record, eschewing any current trend or fashion for a bold and uncompromising vision, that demands an attentive and willing listener. Fortino offers a portal into a dark and mysterious world of existential angst with little in the way of consolation for anyone who may dare to venture into it. There is a pervading atmosphere of meloncholy throughout, one that at times becomes overtly meditative but with an emotional sensitivity that is never too dour, characterized by a controlled usage of negative space complimenting the lyrical focus on loss. The album’s characters search for meaning, grappling with faith and love, but end no closer to any kind of truth. On the final track Fortino sings that “the problem with life is you can’t do it twice and you don’t know why you came.” The protagonist of the song spends their time following a thought-to-be long lost ex-lover, afraid to be spotted, only to be confronted by the haunting realization that “it was somebody else.” Life On Earth is an astute and poetic exploration of human loneliness and yearning, and while it has a tendancy to alienate the listener it is nonetheless a fascinating and affecting work.

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