Jarboe – Mystery of Faith (CD)

Boy, has Jarboe been on a cleaning spree the last year, clearing our eir closet of practically all the demos and music that have been left to the wayside in the last fifteen years? Starting out the CD with “Song For Dead Time”, Jarboe’s pop-mentality allows this gothic-tinged track to soar above the fray, using ethereal vocals and continual piano lines to make for a delectable track. Following the delightful pattering on the ears that was “Song For Dead Time” with a much more plodding and depressing “Everything For Maria”, the track seems a little too heavy on the melodrama to successfully carry the momentum that the first track had. Trying to go one too many times to the same wellspring (in terms of the repetitive sequencing) on “Everything For Maria”, Jarboe finds a long dry spell soon after the disc has started. In fact, the nature of some of the tracks on the other re-releases by Atavistic seem to put “A Mystery of Faith” into a position of being a clearinghouse for the tracks that should have never seen the light of day. Of the first four tracks, only one of the tracks could be considered a success, the aforementioned “Song For Dead Time”. The much more sedate and Spartan “Still a Child” is the next success for Jarboe, as a fitting atmosphere winds its way around eir voice, adding a force that is unrivaled on the disc.

Some of the tracks are embryonic and really had no use in making it onto a serious CD – honestly, what is up with the screw-up still captured on “The Man I Love”? As the disc spins on, various differences in sound and style make their entrance, fade in power, and eventually leave – each section of these two discs feel similar to themselves instead of the disc as a whole (for example, “Dream Dream” and “I Put A Spell On You”). The disc is fairly droll, unexciting and only sparsely dotted with tracks that feel as if they were viable alternatives for what actually showed up on Jarboe’s fully-crafted projects. Tracks like “She Cries” are too hollow and fuzzy to really connect at the base level with Jarboe’s listeners, and all but the most stalwart fan will want to pick this disc up. Jarboe’s other re-releases of material maintain a semblance of order that just is not to be found on this disc; pick them up instead.

Top Tracks: Song For Dead Time, Still A Child

Rating: 4.5/10

Jarboe – Mystery of Faith / 2004 Atavistic / 29 Tracks / http://www.thelivingjarboe.com / http://www.atavistic.com / Reviewed 14 March 2005

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