Tiny Vipers Hands Across the Void

The Minimalist would have been an appropriate title for this album, the debut from Tiny Vipers, the alter ego of Jesy Fortino. As an acoustic singer-songwriter, this Seattle-based musician stays true to her roots, rarely straying from the simple vocal and guitar compositions, though one track, "Forest on Fire,” features some (almost heavy) reverb. The rest of the album is fairly simple and clean, which, unfortunately, seems to work as a double-edged sword. Though there are strong moments, such as "On My Side,” which features some memorable lyrics and a melody that nicely frames Fortino’s pretty vocals, there is often little for the listener to hang-on to. The album’s most ostentatious track, "Swastika,” features a rather loaded title but musically meanders through the same pastures as the previous tracks, albeit with pointed lyrics. It is claimed that Fortino often plays the same chord for minutes at a time at her live shows, especially if the audience is loud, because she feels as though she might as well be playing for herself. At times, it seems as though she’s doing the same thing here. (Sub City)