Jenny O. | Automechanic (Holy Trinity)

cd jenny oListening to the record makes me think of the ’70s, of the singers who had decent voices but managed to get more attention because of how they used them.

 

 

A relatively unknown artist, Jenny O. will be releasing her second full-length record in February 2013. Mainly a singer-songwriter, Jenny O. manages to bring a certain light to her music. On Automechanic, you see a bit of versatility. Her voice changes from track to track, harmonizing with itself, bending and becoming an instrument all on its own. The tracks are somewhat simple, but the way in which she uses her voice manages to create much more depth than is on the surface.

Listening to the record makes me think of the ’70s, of the singers who had decent voices but managed to get more attention because of how they used them. She doesn’t have the best voice you will hear, not by a long shot, but Jenny O. still manages to sound fairly impressive when compared to what is considered pop music on the radio these days.

My favorite track on the album is “Dope Van Gogh,” which sounds like a simple little folk song that carries you throughout the just over three minutes. It reminds me of a Peter and the Wolf track or something that would have been on the B-side of a 45 in the ’90s, one that has a lot of character and stands apart, but is not a single by any means.

Another standout on the record is “Get Lost.” It is a two-minute track that uses vocal reflections and stereo sound to come across in a way that makes me think of some small club with too much reverb in its PA. It is just a nice little retreat to the simplistic, acoustic guitar, basic percussion, and even a cello.

Considering the popularity of other artists these days who are known for their songwriting or ability to record a good record, Jenny O. certainly stands up. There is enough on the record to make you keep listening. I don’t think I would expect any song to follow another. It must have been a task to mix the record and try to get it all to sound like one fluid piece, because each track seems to have a mind of its own.

It is not all good, though. At times, Automechanic sounds like an attempt to capture similarities of groups like the Beatles on “Hey Neighbor” and the Shins on “Learned My Lessons,” or Karen Dalton on “Lazy Jane.” It all sounds incredible similar to a lot of other artists, but is still strong enough to be its own animal.

I suggest you pick up a copy for yourself and be the judge, as it has the ability to appeal to a large group of people. Maybe it will have your next favorite track—who knows? B | Alex Hodschayan

RIYL: Fiona Apple, Bess Rogers, Roger Waters

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