Picks and Pans Review: Bound by the Beauty

updated 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

Jane Siberry

Ta da. Finally this Canadian singer-songwriter has created an album that hits just the right balance of her many, varied talents. The charm of Siberry's fifth and best release comes from a brilliant contradiction. While her music sounds like pretty, pleasant pop and her lyrics build on simple everyday speech, she blends these elements to form rich, compelling songs. The aural equivalent of a gentle lover's caress, "The Valley" sends shivers down the spine with its message of hope. "Hockey," a song that could only be written by a Canadian, captures the clarity and camaraderie of a Sunday afternoon on the ice, with an underlying message about the impermanence of happiness. Siberry knows how to mine poetry out of fractured conversations. In "Half Angel Half Eagle," she delivers compact social commentary on the priorities of the thirtysomething generation: "Five intelligent minds huddled in a fancy restaurant/ All that brainpower bent on... what shall I? what shall I?" While the music on her previous LP The Walking drifted off into free-form synthesizer experiments, her new songs build on unpretentious guitar-based pop, even adopting a country twang at times. Siberry's style now comes so close to the mainstream that cynics might take a quick listen and write her off as another treacle-sweet clichémonger. But they'd be wrong. Siberry, ever thoughtful, takes the familiar and makes it sublime. (Reprise)

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