Picks and Pans Review: The Walking

UPDATED 04/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 04/11/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

Jane Siberry

The Canadian-born Siberry has a thin, birdlike voice and a bent for complex compositions. Both are curiously affecting. She throws down the gauntlet to listeners with the first track, The White Tent the Raft—9:10 of theme, variations and lyrics that are shards of striking, disconnected images. It is a composition that inflates her folk music style to near classical proportions. Songs like The Bird in the Gravel and Lena Is a White Table involve multiple narrative voices, each of which offers an alternative viewpoint on the events in the lyrics. Throughout the album, Siberry employs unusual stacked harmonies and contrapuntal melodic lines. The results of all these techniques resemble mood poems more than songs, so that while there are moments of beauty here (notably on the title track), few offer the comforting familiarity of pop music. The Walking is one of the year's most daring records (though some may judge it the most pretentious). It certainly won't leave you neutral. (Reprise)

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