Tiny Vipers, Life on Earth

Tiny Vipers, Life on Earth

On Tiny Vipers’ striking second album, Life on Earth, Jesy Fortino expands on her distinctive sound. Her songs are more songlike than on the previous album, although the core of the sound is still the same — it’s still just her voice and guitar, but she’s developing her melodies more. Her songs here are better than on her last record, and better able to hold up to her hypnotic style.

When you use repetition as much as she does, all of your parts have to be strong, and she’s a master of pretty guitar lines; she plays a lot of fingerstyle to give the guitar parts more interest. “Life On Earth” has achingly beautiful guitar lines worthy of John Fahey. “Dreamer” has an interesting and unexpected harmonic shift in the guitar line.

She uses subtle details like dynamics and slow shifts of tempo to give each song its own character. On “Life On Earth,” she uses a single loud beginning note that helps drive the repetition, and on “Development,” she waits a slightly different amount of time before beginning each line.

The melodies here are stronger than on her previous album. “Eyes Like Ours” could be an old Appalachian folk song, while “Development” is a langorous epic ballad with an anthemic melody line. “Slow Motion” is a heartbreakingly beautiful song with a matching guitar line. Her voice has some of the quality and intensity of an old English folk singer without actually being from there.

Tiny Vipers’ Life on Earth provides great rewards. If you can appreciate a good drone, Jesy Fortino will have you wrapped around her finger. Her expressive vocals spin the melodies over and over into gold, and her guitar accompaniment is the perfect match for each song. And her melodies are getting better. Life on Earth was worth three years of waiting. Hopefully her next album won’t take quite as long.

(Sub Pop Records -- 2013 4th Ave. 3rd Floor, Seattle, WA. 98121; http://www.subpop.com/; Tiny Vipers -- http://www.myspace.com/tinyvipersss)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, July 6th, 2010. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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