AIMEE MANN Lost In Space (SuperEgo) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
There's no 12-bar structure in earshot, but Magnolia crooner Mann's definitely singing the blues on her newest gem. The cover of Lost In Space shows a silhouette of hydro towers against an empty, starry sky, and the mood is similarly stark and indigo. Mann creates minimalist musical narratives, and on Lost In Space they spiral around the central theme of addiction. She tugs heartstrings with stripped-down slide guitar, creates urban country tunes by beefing up sad, swampy songs with a hint of twang, and evokes bleak retro-space emotions with Atari-style cyber-blips on the title track. Her breathy purr is beautiful to begin with, but the real marvel is the way she allows the controlled waver in her voice to push a melody just slightly off, preventing the tunes from becoming prettily banal; she maintains an edge.