maandag 28 maart 2016

Right On! JennyLee

It's two years ago that 'Warpaint' by the band with the same name was received favourably on this blog, although there remained mixed emotions about the record. There was one song in particular that I have listened to a lot. "Love Is To Die' is a great song; a 10s classic of undercooled passion as I ever heard one.

JennyLee (Lindberg) is the bass player and sometimes vocalist of Warpaint and released her first solo effort last December. Often a solo album by a "lesser" band member is not something that is necessary to take notice of. Who remembers Carla Torgerson's solo album? Or Radiohead's drummer's? What makes JennyLee's effort worthwhile writing a review of?

What caught me at first was the dreamy environment JennyLee creates, where it is pleasant to frequent. Her voice is light, without a lot of power behind it. "Breathy" it's described. (Not a nice description, is it? It personally reminds of men that breath into your ear after picking up the phone. Does it still exist in 2016? Haven't heard about it for years.) JennyLee's voice hovers over her music in which her bass plays a main role.

Things seemed to go amiss when I tried to establish a deeper relation with her songs. It didn't happen. For that they are too distant. The atmosphere that most of her songs are built on, works like a fog instead of a warm blanket.

The complex rhythms that some of the songs have within them are admirable. A lot of work must have gone into establishing them and make them perfect to work for the songs. It works really well in The Cure influenced 'Never'. The effect on me is in the end distancing. The sound is extremely clinical, aloof. The music of JennyLee is withdrawn into its own cocoon. In other words close to the music of her mothership, Warpaint.

That does not mean that the songs are devoid of quality. The atmosphere that is laid down in 'Long Lonely Winter is superb. Instruments and voices, not necessarily vocals, melt into each other making a whole that is extremely attractive to listen to. In general I like the softer songs better on Right On!, better than the busy ones with hard-working drummers. The difference is what makes Right On! work when all is said and done. The contrast is what makes this album come alive.

JennyLee walks a very thin line with this album, for me that is. My mood is a catalyst where the album is concerned. There are days that I do not come beyond the second song. On other days I am totally at ease, like now when I'm writing the second instalment of this post. Even the cringing, slithering 'Riot' works for me today. Even when the rhythm seems to fall apart at a certain point in the song.

Right On! is far from an easy album to listen to and to judge on. JennyLee proves that a solo album can add to the oeuvre of a band. That is a compliment to start with. She has more than enough to say. And although the atmosphere is undercooled, perhaps even cold, it is on days like these that a ray of light is the most welcome. Every time she lets one through I'm very grateful. Mixed emotions? Yes, but Right On! is worthwhile to invest time in.


You can listen to 'Never' here:

or buy on Bol.Com:

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