Review: Jane Siberry haunts, stirs on 'Angels Bend Closer'

PABLO GORONDI
Associated Press
This image released by Sheeba Music shows "Angels Bend Closer," a new release by Jane Siberry. (Sheeba Music via AP)

Jane Siberry, "Angels Bend Closer" (Sheeba Music)

Jane Siberry twists genres and conventions on "Angels Bend Closer," a haunting, uplifting album befitting her eclectic style.

On the Canadian's first major release in five years, Siberry's lyrics arrive like emotional gushes barely contained by their musical frames, mostly lavish ballads with a bounty of details.

Nearly seven minutes long, "Morag" encapsulates several aspects of the album and Siberry's intense diversity — nearly stream-of-consciousness lyrics with few rhymes but plenty of reason, swirling melodies, crisscrossing arrangements and messages of reflection and redemption.

Siberry illuminates a wide range of relationships on "Angels Bend Closer" but love is always at the core.

"Mama Hereby" is a daughter's call for truce where reconciliation is also possible, while "Anytime," which appears first as a ballad and then propelled by a solid groove in a Willie Mitchell-like R&B production, expresses a parent's protectiveness even as the distance grows.

Other highlights include opener "Walk On Water," the k.d. lang duet "Living Statue" and "Everything You Knew As A Child," which alternates dramatic verses with a thumping refrain handsomely dressed in lang-like majesty.

"Angels Bend Closer" continues a tradition launched 35 years ago with her self-titled debut — Siberry is hard to pin down but a one-of-a-kind listen.