I knew nothing about this record going in and, frankly, nothing about Germano. The name maybe rung a bell, a teeny bit, but that’s all. So I had no idea what I was in for, which is maybe why I keep can’t help but compare her to other people.
Though this is her third album, there are some pretty strong PJ Harvey/Liz Phair vibes to some of her songs. That’s totally not fair to Germano, who is more of a musician than Phair, at least, and possibly Harvey too, and also she’s much older. (Like 10 years.) But we all listen to things through the lens we have, not the one we’d like to have, and I’ve listened to both of them before. So that’s my frame of reference. The reason I bring this up is because sometimes Germano’s lyrics hit you like Harvey’s or Phair’s do. This doesn’t quite happen enough for me, and I find myself liking many of the lyrics to a song but not all of them more than I like the entire song, but I still think some of these songs are pretty great.
Germano’s sound is a lot more diverse than the sounds of the women I want to compare her to, and a lot of that comes from her ability to play multiple instruments. The diversity of the recording is both a blessing and a curse as sometimes it does really feel like a home recording where she’s just throwing ideas out there. (I.e. like every bedroom indie rock album ever.)
But on the whole this is a pretty great record, showing off Germano’s abilities not just as a musician but as a songwriter. I’m sorry I’m being a typical man and approaching it through the lends of other “indie” female songwriters of her era, but it’s kind of hard to escape the similar aesthetics and, on occasion, similar songwriting styles.
Listening to this makes me want to listen to the rest of her work, for sure.