Mysteries of America

Anna Domino

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Mysteries of America Review

by Ned Raggett

Still the most recent full-length album released solely under Anna Domino's name, compilations aside, Mysteries of America showed Domino entering the '90s on a quietly adventurous note with an album balanced somewhere between general concept and collection of songs. More so than her previous albums, and in keeping with the album title, Mysteries of America is indeed a very 'American'-sounding record in ways -- there are elements of what came to be called classic rock without necessarily replicating it. Consider the Hammond organ and acoustic guitar at the center of the opening "Home," suggesting wide-open spaces and a certain kind of tradition, perhaps. It's hardly Domino going unplugged, however -- much in the same way that, say, Kate Bush or Tim Buckley's compositional and sonic range seemed to keep growing with time, Domino here captures ever lusher, more involving atmospheres. It can be heard in the texture of keyboards and serene singing on "Pandora" or the contemplative closer "Dust;" even "Paris," a distinctly un-American song, perhaps, uses accordion to suggest an impression of the city rather than simply replicating a style. Ranging from youth to death with stops along the way, the subject matter of the album suggests 'mysteries' in an almost spiritual sense. Domino's ear for an inspired cover serves her well once more with the album's literal centerpiece, a serene remake of Jesse Winchester's "Isn't That So." The LTM issue, as with all the others, provided bonus tracks, in this case including the entirety of 1988's Colouring in the Edge and the Outline EP. Much more electronic than Mysteries, it's a contrasting but not violently different set of songs, including what's probably her best individual song all around, "88." One further bonus is "Stand Apart," a hitherto unreleased cover of a song by Crepescule labelmate Jonathan Prosser recorded in 1987.

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