Tara Jane ONeil

In Circles

by Jason MacNeil

3 January 2007

 

The latest album from Portland native Tara Jane O’Neil is barren, sparse, and quite precious. From the lullaby instrumental “Primer”, the musician moves into a quasi-Celtic folk feel with “A Partridge Song”, bringing to mind the likes of Judy Collins or Joan Baez.  Downbeat and morose, some of the songs come to life in this framework, especially “The Louder”, which could have come from an Elliott Smith tribute album. O’Neil seems to have a light, flighty timbre in her voice during the simple but elegant “A Sparrow Song”, as does the somber, Cowboy Junkies-tinged “Blue Light Room”, which she shines on from start to finish. Just as gorgeous is the almost hypnotic “Need No Pony” that resembles an acoustic version of an Arcade Fire classic. One number that doesn’t measure up is “The Looking Box”. But generally, O’Neil manages to get the most out of these songs for an engaging, enjoyable, and soothing record.

In Circles

Rating:

//related
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.


//comments
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Black Milk Gives 'Em 'Hell'

// Sound Affects

"Much of If There's a Hell Below's themes relay anxieties buried deep, manifested as sound when they are unearthed.

READ the article