JANIE CHRISTENSEN—PAINTED BIRDS
Janie Christensen’s biography indicates a life spent absorbing music in some of the great places in the world to do just that. Born in Paris, raised in New York City and upstate New York, Christensen’s development also included listening to radio stations playing music from around the globe. The notion of all those different styles being strained through a filter might sound a bit daunting for a listener, but Painted Birds is a cohesive album, with elements of smooth European gloss and placid tones of folk music at its core.
Painted Birds is the work of two musicians, with Christensen singing and playing piano as well as adding a rhythm guitar to one track, while Angelo Ficara was responsible for just about everything else, including drum programming and string arrangements. The pair work well together with material primarily composed by Christensen, and Painted Birds is an amiable collection of contemporary easy listening music. “Iceman” is representative of the up-tempo numbers, an almost ‘80s feel, as though Natalie Merchant was fronting Level 42. Elsewhere, “White House on the Beach” dips its toe into contemporary country music, while “Inside Your Heart” is evocative of the smoothness of Sade.
Painted Birds may include a wide range of influences, but the final product is definitely its own. —Crispin Kott