In which Carol Lipnik chronicles a life spent in the decaying panorama of Coney Island. MY LIFE AS A SINGING MERMAID is one of those quintessentially American experiences, like watching Bugs Bunny or an episode of The Twilight Zone on a Saturday afternoon. The album has a feel reminiscent of DJ Spooky mixing Laura Nyro's NEW YORK TENDABERRY with Tom Waits' MULE VARIATIONS. Lipnik has a genuinely affecting range, just dramatic enough to make her point; but unlike some "theatrical" singers, she injects equal parts warmth, wonder, and angst into her songs, each a gem of construction.
Most unsettling is her cover of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated," which she sings languidly and gloomily, like Lotte Lenya. Her band, which appears to be under the influence of the zigzag amalgams of Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Raymond Scott and Charles Ives, puts the finishing touches to these fractured sonatas.