Lisa Mednick

Semaphore

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Perhaps the first thing to catch one's attention on Lisa Mednick's second release is the curious title, Semaphore. The picture of the railroad crossing on the cover, however, provides a clue: a semaphore is "any apparatus for signaling." The elliptical lyrics of the title track identify a universal female figure as a signaler, mystically offering directions that spring from divine sources. "Widow of this World" likewise uses the image of a woman to explore the values of being married in both the literal and figurative sense to a man, a city, and a country. If all of this sounds a bit "heavy," fear not. While Mednick writes careful lyrics with strange words like "anchorite," she doesn't consider herself one of those navel-gazing singer/songwriters. Instead, songwriting is just another aspect of building a musical tapestry. Atmospheric guitars mingle with dreamy keyboards on "Falling off a Wheel" and "No More Rain," while bass and percussion offer a balanced underpinning. The mix also varies frequently, keeping these tunes from falling into a tired groove. Accordion adds pizzazz to the Cajun-drenched "Sad Louisiana Waltz," while the cello/piano combo gives "Dancing in My Cell" a classical air. While Mednick's stylized soprano reminds one more of a pop singer like Natalie Merchant than her Austin-based peers, it is just right for delivering sonically charged pieces like "Wrecker" and "Stranger." Musically and lyrically, Semaphore offers a rich mix of carefully layered Americana.

blue highlight denotes track pick