Jane Siberry

Jane Siberry

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Until East Side Digital finally issued Jane Siberry on CD in 1994, this 1981 album was difficult to find even in the singer/songwriter's native Canada. Originally released on the tiny Toronto label Street Records, Jane Siberry is a low-budget affair with none of the lushness that began to predominate in Siberry's music as early as 1983's No Borders Here. Still, Siberry's lyrical quirks are already in full effect, as on the bizarre little girls-talk vignette "This Girl I Know" and the "what I did on my summer vacation" essay "The Sky Is So Blue." Though the album isn't quite the barebones folk some articles about Siberry made it out to be later in her career, it's still a pretty minimal affair compared to, say, The Speckless Sky. Siberry plays the majority of the instruments herself and sings almost all the vocals in self-harmony. Fewer than half of the nine songs have percussion, and John Switzer, who would go on to become Siberry's main musical foil, is restricted to playing bass on a handful of songs. The results are roughly akin to Joni Mitchell's early-'70s albums viewed through a post-punk prism, with the downright poppy "Marco Polo" and the amusing "Writers Are a Funny Breed" among the highlights.

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