Jenn Lindsay "Perfect Handful" (Independent 2006)
Yawning at the thought of yet another acoustic guitar wielding female singer songwriter? Jenn Lindsay will wake you up.
This is Jenn Lindsay’s seventh album; both this and her sixth album, ‘Uphill Both Ways’, were financed entirely by her fans. Her world is that of the New York anti-folk scene, a bunch of musicians and writers that ‘share a mutual distaste for mediocre, well-packaged mainstream music’ claims her website. Generally here we are talking acoustic guitar, lone female voice, singer songwriter fare, these days a rather overcrowded field, but by the time you’ve written enough material for seven albums you should be getting the hang of this songwriting malarkey, and what makes this record stand out is indeed the quality of writing, and the lyrics in particular. The opening song sets the tone ‘Got My Baby’ is a love song to her guitar ‘She is the only baby I will ever need, She's got the longest neck you ever seen, And six lovely steel strings’, the song goes on to reveal how her friends are keen to point out Jenn's relationship status, single, ‘everyone is in love except you’. There are all sorts of other little bell ringing real life references in the songs, like in ‘Rain’, a song, in part, about moving, ‘My junk stuffed in the car, My lip fat from a bungee snap’. ‘Miracle Thing’ is about Ani Difranco, a song that anyone whose ever had a musical obsession can relate to ‘driving with Christina to work in '98, she slipped in a perfect mix tape, every single song hit me hard at home’. Lots of clever little lyrical twists are in there ‘My spoon is in her peanut butter jar, Her songs are stuck to the roof of my heart’, but she does admit ‘A girl can't live on Ani alone’ and wonders about her hero ‘Did you ever play 5 lame shows in a row, With one once in a while that kept you goin?’, a very honest and appealing song. The delivery is not dissimilar to the Waitresses (if you recall that ‘Christmas Wrapping’ song). ‘What U Got’ is another striking song, this time about the mixed up emotions of seeing a friend becoming successful ‘I don't see you in the clubs no more, You've ascended through the boardroom door’, ‘Your life is high and soft, My life is what I got’. Sadly it's perhaps not all that likely that a record of this style will ever shift mega units, but that shouldn’t detract from its ridiculously high quality, and the reality, honesty and humour in Jenn’s writing.
Date review added: Sunday, October 22, 2006
Reviewer: Patrick Wilkins
Related web link: www.jennlindsay.com