Album – Batten the Hatches – Jenny Own Youngs

Posted by admin on December 6th, 2007

I got an email recently from Nettwerk, telling me about Jenny Own Youngs’ new video, available to see on YouTube, called F*** Was I (astrisks there to protect delicate eyes and yes this isn’t part of the track name). I was at a loose end and saw the email again and decided to have a watch. I heard the cello begin and I was hooked. I heard Jenny’s voice and knew it was aural love at first listen. I have a hard time trying to describe what it is in a female vocal that gets me so excited, suffice to say Jenny has it by the truck load.

Opening with “Porchrail”, I was a little sceptical about what I was about to hear. It has an almost rockabilly feel to it, but I needn’t have been so wary. What unfolds is just a sheer delight. Jenny has a wonderful style of delivery and lyrics that are honest and fresh. This is no lovelorn woman, but one that really comes across as in control of her own destiny. The first two tracks are pretty short at around the two minute mark, but they serve as a great escort to “F*** Was I” which has that magic X factor.

“Lightening Rod” is a more relaxed track and it’s here that the Jenny’s voice adopts a huskier, smokier tone. It’s a slightly rambling track, but all can be forgiven, as Jenny’s voice builds and takes a more hungry tone. “Voice on Tape” has a nice answerphone message featured throughout, which sounds too good to be fake. The track itself is pretty simple, but builds with some nice harmonies and layer upon layer of sound, great stuff. The return of the banjo comes with “P.S.” and to be honest it’s probably my least favorite track.

“Drinking Song” again features a most colourful word, but there’s no shock, or gratuity in it. The lyrics, as they have throughout the rest of the album, have a real honesty to them, a truth of life, that really works. “Woodcut” is another of the more relaxed tracks, but the combination of vocals and guitar, work nicely to evoke an atmosphere of a summer’s day, lazing in a field of corn. “Coyote” again manages to evoke a strong picture in my minds eye, of a saloon in the wild west. The more I listen to this song, the more a complete video unravels in my imagination.

“Keys Out Lights On” eases us gently into the final track, with Jenny’s rich vocals, and a glockenspiel if I’m not mistaken. The final track “Woodcut (The Age of Rockets Remix), is as you’ve guessed it, a reworking of the previous “Woodcut” track, and provides enough of an interesting twist, to be solid in it’s own right.

Conclusion : A welcome find and one that really delivers a fresh take on female vocalists. Inventive, witty and sharp. Pure, unadulterated, tasty, goodness.

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