RELEASE
July 07, 2009
LABEL
Sub Pop

Album Review

Seattle-based singer/songwriter Jesy Fortino's second full-length outing under her Tiny Vipers pseudonym utilizes the same sparse algebra that she established on her ghostly 2007 debut. Possessing a voice caught somewhere between Harvest-era Neil Young and Zooey Deschanel of silver screen and She & Him fame, Fortino's vague, semi-conscious lyrics and soft fingerpicking fit right in with the current crop of late-'60s British folk-obsessed singer/songwriters like Jana Hunter, Joanna Newsom, Jesse Sykes, and Faun Fables' Dawn McCarthy. The 11 tracks that populate Life on Earth tiptoe by like thieves, leaving enough predawn atmosphere in their wakes to fuel a thousand cups of coffee. Fortino's dreamlike delivery feels possessed at times, dipping in and out of characters with a theatricality that can feel both unsettling and oddly comical. While the latter may be unintentional, there is no denying the spookiness of standout cuts like "Twilight Property," "Eyes Like Ours," and the epic ten-minute title track. Like fellow abstract lyricist Kristin Hersh, her quill is aimed at the introverted, resulting in work that is both deeply personal and frustratingly impenetrable.
James Christopher Monger, Rovi