Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Jane Bom-Bane and Nick Pynn (again)--two CD reviews

From Dirty Linen #118 (June/July 2005).

Jane Bom-Bane
Round-a-way Wrong Songs
Wrong Records 006

Nick Pynn
Roundhill Music Round004 (2004)

Jane Bom-Bane sounds a little like Linda Thompson with a head cold (nasal on the high notes), thinks a little like Jane Siberry, and composes a little like — well, comparisons fail here. Salvador Dali, if Dali were a fractal-obsessed mathematician? The jaunty “I’ve Lost My Sheen” demonstrates the error of its title: shiny and bouncy, it couldn’t have much more sheen. “I’ve lost my nerve, but I still dare scream I love you,” Bom-Bane pronounces over a shifty base of harmonium (it sounds like accordion here), bass, and occasional whistles. “Boy,” which appears in a different version on her 2002 collaboration with Nick Pynn, Rotator, is likewise lively, if stripped-down here. Solo harmonium pieces like the opening “Round-a-way Wrong Song Theme” are mesmerizing. “Whoa! Hey!” is nearly conventional, a courting song sung with a barely suppressed smile. It shows that Bom-Bane knows well the formal apple-cart she’s so gleefully upsetting — or at least rearranging — on her odder numbers. Discerning listeners will be moved by this collection to “drown your sorrows and float.”

Bom-Bane’s occasional collaborator Pynn takes his fiddles to new heights on Afterplanesman. The opener, “Feu de Joie,” sounds a little Nordic and a lot stately, but he pulls a switcheroo on the following, title track, on which he plays guitar, bass pedals, and wine glasses — as a glass harp — while Shetland singer Astrid Williamnson recites a verse of loss and déjà vu: “Until next time around, when we meet again.” There are many such delights on this unusual album, which isn’t quite as avant-garde as Bom-Bane’s. The scariest thing about it is a drummer named Tom Arnold, and it’s a pretty good bet it’s not the scary Tom Arnold.

Pamela Murray Winters
(Churchton, MD)

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