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On disc: Juliette Lewis

Terra Incognita - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita
(Roadrunner Records - 2009)

Juliette Lewis first stepped into the spotlight as an actress (Natural Born Killers, From Dusk Till Dawn, etc.) and in 2004 started rocking the stages with The Licks. Now she rocks on her own and presents her debut Terra Incognita. After Intro the first track Romeo kicks off slowly, then some heaviness got added, but don't expect some punky rock stuff! A passage with spoken words, then back to the main theme. This is more a modern version of singer-songwriter stuff... At All Is For God the punk attitude shows through a bit. It's a sonic roller coaster ride Juliette Lewis offers. With Fantasy Bar she offers guitar-based rocker, while Hard Lovin' Woman shows her in a Janis Joplin-style. The title track is a fast one with an unusual rhythmic pattern... Heavy guitar riffs. Rock. With Uh Huh she offers a pop tune and she sounds like a young girl here. An experimental tune is Female Persecution, a challenge for the listener. Disturbing and enchanting at the same time. And so Junkyard Heart is refreshing, a rock tune with emotional vocals - in a way easy listening. ;)
Noche Sin Fin is another rocker - a bit dark and with a dash anger. Again it's the unusual rhythmic pattern which seems to disturb the flow, but its important for the song which otherwise would be just a simple rock song. But so it creates something special. Later they abandon the rhythmic pattern and the atmosphere of the song changes. Acoustic guitar and Lewis voice is all you get at the beginning of Suicide Dive Bombers. Vocally Lewis reminds me a bit of Kate Bush - at least for a moment - after they pick up speed. But some parts carry a David Bowie vibe... Sounds strange? Well, the song is fascinating, but words can hardly explain this sonic adventure!
It's a side of her she couldn't live with her band The Licks and it needed Omar Rodriguez-Lopez to bring it out... to give her the confidence to go this way. The Puerto-Rican multi-instrumentalist and producer shared her vision and knew how to push her to the limit. Lewis stated: "I wanted to make a record that has full flavor and spectrum. Not the same song 11 times. I felt I needed to break conventional songwriting habits, allow those roaming voices to come out. 'Terra Incognita' means unknown territory and I wanted needed to go there. Not everybody wants to. But I got no one to answer to, so why not feed the muse? It's all about this love of expression and an audience who's willing to take the journey into my mythical sonic forest of dreams, where romance and tragedy are next to heaven." So, if this sounds interesting, then check out Terra Incognita!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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