Picks and Pans Review: The Speckless Sky

updated 07/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/21/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jane Siberry

Canadian songwriter Jane Siberry's second U.S. release is sheer pleasure. Her music mixes some of the best qualities of Joni Mitchell and Laurie Anderson. Like both of them, Siberry writes melodies that build upon subtle vocal inflections, backed by carefully controlled synthesizers. Sometimes her songs disintegrate into musical talking, punctuated by uncluttered wisps of electronic sound. For the most part, though, Siberry's poetic lyrics evoke the simplicity of Anderson and the richness of Mitchell; they resonate with deeper meaning as they become more familiar. At the same time Siberry's quietly efficient backup band gives her album an accessible, easy-to-hear sound that never degenerates into sentimentality. Her lyrics depict scenes—a cloistered prison cell or an open field—that call up varied emotions. The odd way she combines her images may be above some people's heads, but as she marvels at the enormousness of the big, blue, speckless sky, which is her version of stopping to smell the roses, she gives her music an enchanting optimism that almost anyone will want to share. (Open Air)

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