Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The tacked piano at the beginning and throughout the lead song in this debut session from Liz Isenberg sets out at a blinding pace, as if it were trying to lap the fingers playing the notes. It's a mirrored tempo of the westerly winds that the songwriter from Providence, Rhode Island sweeps in with. Her songs burst, like rabbits out of the tall grass, when the lawnmower is bearing down on them. They spring out of her throat with an urgency that often seems impulsive - in a delightful way. She writes like someone who just needs to get some things off her chest. She needs to feel how they feel when they leave her body. She needs to feel how they feel when they're not just rattling around in her head - always sweeter in concept than when they're mingling out in the cruel air - that is until they actually get there. There's no way to tell what certain thoughts are going to feel like until they're actually out there - said, expressed.
The characters in Isenberg songs are keyed up, torn between sneaky suspicions and known truths, all of which boil together into a perfect storm of nerves and clutter. There's a hallelujah that gets shouted out - with joyfulness - when she sings about loving a man. Not all that much time passes before the hallelujah gets broken right back out, to celebrate her leaving that very same man in, "I Loved Him, I'll Leave Him." Even if it might seem that there's some kind of a linear narrative to that thought, taking a whole cluster of her words and stories together, you recognize that there tend to be more than the average number of surprises that throw themselves into her cloudy futures, which always seem to act on her present.
She feels like she's losing it, sometimes, as if there is all kinds of evidence pointing to her facing steep odds toward genuine happiness. She feels unlucky and nothing much is going to change that, as her mind races away from her, more often than not. "Your Underpants" is a song, when it goes wildly rampant. She sings, "There are not even loose threads/Strung together in rainbow knots/All over the floor of my closet/For that would be beautiful/Oh, I want you to see/I hope you're watching me/I want you to think/How I've missed out/What a beautiful soul/I've missed you in my life/I'm proud of you and I want you again/Oh, girl, good luck with that/You're in your underpants/Screaming over Townes Van Zandt/Now, all you fuckers gonna hear me rant/Don't think you won't/Don't think you can't." It's a state that she splashes around in a lot and she almost seems to enjoy it.
Liz Isenberg Official Site