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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Libby Johnson - Perfect View

Libby Johnson - Perfect View
2010, Libby Johnson Music

Libby Johnson’s been around the block a time or two. The former 22 Brides front woman has played for crowds of all sizes, and had her music featured in a feature film (Trust The Man), but you might argue she didn’t really hit her stride as a songwriter until her 2006 debut solo album, Annabella. It’s taken nearly four years, a lot of travelling (both musically and physically) and a little road grit, but Johnson’s back with a fitting follow up in Perfect View.

Johnson opens with the gorgeous and sweet Folk/Pop confection of a title track. Perfect View shows off the delightful earthy quality of Johnson's voice. Rare And Beautiful is lush, mellow Pop and transitions into the Metronomic Country/Pop of Be Your Revelator. Being Your Stranger is more lush Pop. Like a sweet treat this song fades quickly leaving a pleasant aftertaste. 20 Superheroes is an interesting concept. The vocal line is perhaps a bit too constant, but the instrumentation around it is wonderfully complex and layered, creating an intriguing sound. Coming Up For Air is a soulful tune that allows the listener to dig in a bit; more substantial than the material that's come before and showing a bit more investment in the process. Sister You'll Be Back Again has strong Blues roots and a big slide guitar presence. The arrangement is a bit messy although I had the impression this was more of an artistic choice than a deficit. Johnson closes with the self-referential sorrow and loss of I Know You Know. The song implies a sense of peace and understanding that things will get better even while mired in the moment.

Libby Johnson gets off to a strong start on Perfect View, and delivers well-developed material without ever sounding completely immersed in the material. From the listener's perspective, it sounds like she's holding something back throughout much of Perfect View. The title track is the highlight, and there is a slow but gentle slide until she hits the more bluesy elements. Johnson has a wonderfully listenable voice; I kept waiting for her to open things up a bit more and get more personally involved, but that moment never quite evolved. Still, I'll take Johnson at 90-95% any day, but it would be nice to hear what the rest of that fraction might add.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Libby Johnson at or Perfect View can be purchased directly from Johnson’s web store, or is available digitally from iTunes.

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