Libby Kirkpatrick

Goodnight Venus (Heart Music)

Texas Platters

Libby Kirkpatrick

Goodnight Venus (Heart Music) Like Kristin Hersh and Edie Brickell before her, Libby Kirkpatrick makes autumn music for autumn people. Songs on her studio debut, Goodnight Venus, drop like leaves without any chance of making it back up again. This becomes a problem since the sparse, crisp melodies of her material are overcome by Kirkpatrick's hackneyed social commentary. Lyrics like, "I need a big bed where the world can sleep together," (on "Wake Me Up") seem harmless, but after repeated listens not even Kirkpatrick's breezy voice makes the sentiments seem anything less than heavy-handed. Outspoken and earnest songwriters are constantly forced to walk a thin line between poetry and pity. "The Dream That You Are" maintains some poetic prowess because of an unorthodox vocal performance that has Kirkpatrick scatting, whispering, howling, and overdubbing lyrics on top of each other. Mixed with some subtle hints of flügelhorn, it's one of the few songs listeners will be eager to find again. Otherwise, you're left with bits and pieces of promising compositions. "Silver Road" swells into some nice textures, but it can't save itself from its open-mic coffeehouse trappings. Goodnight Venus is pleasant music for a November chill even though the warm hues fade away quickly. Kirkpatrick actually prophesizes the album's undoing on "Vaulted Heart" when she sings, "I'm so glad the leaves fell/Leaves the naked trees standing tall." Tall or short, a tree without leaves is like an album without great tunes.

**

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Daniel Johnston
Chicago 2017 (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Feb. 21, 2020

Texas Platters
Kinky Friedman
Resurrection (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Jan. 3, 2020

More by Matt Dentler
Best Ofs
The Beta Band
The Best of the Beta Band (Record Review)

Dec. 30, 2005

Best Ofs
Beastie Boys
Solid Gold Hits (Record Review)

Dec. 30, 2005

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle