By Jeremy LukensDecember 27, 2010
Does the world really need another young woman with an acoustic guitar, soulful voice and ear for melody? Yes, it does. Don’t take my word for it, though. Goodnight Company
, the third album by Jane Lui, exists because the people demanded it. With half of the album financed by donations from fans on PledgeMusic.com, Lui’s new album is the direct result of making music that the world wants to hear.Goodnight Company
has a surreal quality, with Lui embarking on a dreamlike journey that covers every mood without reveling in any. There is an endearing quirkiness to the collection, with Lui at times sounding like a more accessible Tori Amos, but with a better voice. Her classically trained vocals are as sexy as they are mysterious, as Lui beckons the listener through ten tracks.
In true do-it-yourself fashion, Lui goes all Prince on us and plays 14 different instruments on the album. The result is a collection that portrays fragmented scenes from old memories. Stripped down songs like “Illusionist Boy” show a bleak narrative, but even in Lui’s darkest moments (“the sun will rise ‘cause you have perished in my mind”) those scenes are never melodramatic. More playful songs like the orchestral “Take Me for Now” and “Jailcard” – which juxtaposes a slow R&B groove with a disco beat – also help balance out the somber moments.
Unlike many unorthodox musicians who try too hard to prove their quirkiness, Goodnight Company
succeeds because it thrives on textures and mood more than arrangements and production. Lui makes more use of empty space than bricolage and more reflection than bombast. It’s doubtful that even the fans who bankrolled the album could have expected it to be this good.