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CD Review: Tiny Vipers

Life on Earth (Sub Pop)


Isolate yourself, cover your head with a snug pair of headphones, turn off all the lights and light a candle. It's the best way to listen to Life on Earth, Tiny Vipers' sophomore album. Jesy Fortino, the one-woman wonder behind Tiny Vipers, is an unassuming young songwriter. She huddles over her guitar and avoids eye contact with her audience, but reveals her thoughts in her songs. The Seattle-based musician revels in the simplicity of her old folk-style tunes: The shimmering emptiness of her haunting voice and stark guitar-picking say a lot with a little. Fortino recorded Life on Earth in an analog studio in Austin, which retained the natural sounds of the guitar. At times, it sounds like her voice is coming through the depths of a dark cave. "Time Takes" ends with deep bass that spurts out like a looming thunderstorm; elsewhere, distorted squeaks are layered over disorienting chord structures. It's not a cheerful listen, yet it's sadly beautiful, a trap of ghostlike webs that carry you to a dark, timeless place. — Sills

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