Kelsey Jarboe – Magical Realism

May 28, 2011

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?

The saints and poets, maybe — they do some.

Kelsey’s Jarboe’s album, “Magical Realism,” presents ten compositions that meditate or reflect in various ways on life at the beginning of our new century.

With something this ambitious, useful comparisons are hard to make. But listening to it, I thought of Barbara Manning’s combination of directness and willingness to experiment. And though stylistically quite different, I also remembered the way that PJ Harvey, especially on her first two lps, dealt with a range of complex issues with controlled emotion. Perhaps another clue lies in the track titled “The Body of Raphaelle Peale,” since there is certainly an element of what you might call “the American still life” in some of these tracks, as well as a playful yet relevant satire in others.

Poignant, powerful, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes whimsical, “Magical Realism” expands significantly on last year’s excellent “Among Your Kind.” A real masterpiece.

“Anthroapologists”

“Heirlooms”

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2 Responses to “Kelsey Jarboe – Magical Realism”

  1. Kelsey Says:

    Shucks, Love+Math! You’re too nice. And I’m thrilled you found that painting by Peale, it’s probably one of my favorite pranks from American art history.


  2. […] Their live shows always involve high energy, catharsis, humor, and audience participation. One review of their most recent release, “Magical Realism”, wrote, “Poignant, powerful, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes whimsical, ‘Magical Realism’ expands significantly on last year’s excellent ‘Among Your Kind.’ A real masterpiece.” — Love and Mathematics (loveandmath.wordpress.com/2011/05/28/kelsey-jarboe-magical-realism/) […]


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