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Abba Meets Emily

RECORD RACK

May 18, 1986|KRISTINA McKENNA

"THE SPECKLESS SKY." Jane Siberry. Open Air. Canadian singer/songwriter Jane Siberry makes doily music. Frilly, fragile and a bit musty, it's the kind of stuff you'd expect from a girl in a crinoline pinafore who spends all her time alone in her room immersed in old photo albums; her music seems cut off from the flow of life, neurasthenic and creepy.

Described by Siberry as being about territoriality, maps and borders, her third LP combines the wistfulness of Emily Dickinson with the heavenly choir production style of ABBA. Occasionally lapsing into a speak/sing vocal technique evocative of Laurie Anderson, other times warbling in a clear, light operatic tenor that puts one in mind of Joni Mitchell, Siberry can be quite winning when she manages to refrain from wearing her sensitivity on her sleeve. Often, however, her music is afflicted with the kind of trembly preciousness that makes Kate Bush and Suzanne Vega hard to stomach.

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