Maria review

The Rocket - 12-26 July 1995
by Kevin Rexroat

Jane Siberry, Maria (Reprise CD)

Although this album sounds markedly different than 1985's The Speckless Sky, Maria is structured very similarly, and it's possibly her best work since then. The big electronic sound of that disc has been replaced by bass, piano, drums, and a few horns, but the long quiet holes a la "Vladimir Vladimir" pull you in and make you wait to find out what's happening. There are also up-tempo poppy songs sprinkled throughout, and the combination of the two makes the sort of diverse but consistent disc that Siberry made in the '80s.

While Siberry is going for a jazz club sort of sound on much of the disc, the one musical constant is her voice. Somehow she's managed to sound less confident, more afraid of herself with each recording since The Speckless Sky. But at the same time, her songwriting, which has always been strong, has improved. Her lyrics don't always make sense right away ("And when I lay me down to sleep/In my flowery keep/The moon upon my face/I dream of bowls of milk"), but they start to paint some sort of subliminal picture after a few listens, and I begin to think I know what she's talking about.

Because it's a bit of a musical departure for her, Maria took a little time to grow on me, but I think it's going to stay in my stereo for a while.