Lisa Marr Experiment American Jitters

Having transplanted herself from Vancouver to Hollywood, you can understand how Lisa Marr would want to bear hug the humanism of country music. It’s too bad she never fully connects with real electricity. She and the LMX gang holed themselves in a cabin and came up with this album, a countrified, dreamy and somewhat drifty exploration of one of Marr’s favourite themes since her days in Cub: as she puts it herself, how that the golden cup is right outside her door. To illustrate, sung with a palpable exhaustion on "Monday Morning, Echo Park”: "Looking for a reason, mired in my season of discontent and it will never end. Used-to-bes and could-have-beens don’t count for shit when the glory train rolls in. I’d like to say it’s not my fault. I’d like to say it’s not my call. I’d like to say a lot of things but a lot of things are lies.” Geez. Is it really so bad, Lisa? To sum up the entire affair in single word: defeated. There’s not much to brag about musically, most of the songs are straightforward electric country with twang and pedal steel, all of which are played capably if predictably. Ranging between shuffles and feedback, Mike Flanagan sings a couple numbers with the same asleep-at-the-pitcher energy. Marr’s "The Boy with the Lou Reed Eyes,” which drifts into New Pornographers pop, wakes us up a bit, then Flanagan does an upbeat rocker called "Slim.” Overall, though, this particular experiment feels half-finished. (Sympathy for the Record Industry)