ALBUM REVIEW: Jenny O. - Spectra

4.0 rating
Jenny O. - Spectra

Spectra, the new album from singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jenny O., is an instruction booklet on how to love rationally and unconditionally. Produced by Kevin Ratterman, the album comprises Jenny O. on guitar, bass, and synths, with drumming chores handled by Josh Adams.

Speaking about Spectra, Jenny O. shares, “It’s inspired by love, pleasure, and well-being.” Jenny O. grew up on Long Island, part of a home that adored early rock n’ roll. A classically trained composer and double bass player, she studied jazz, followed by delving into hip-hop before taking up residence in California, where she returned to her rock roots.

Along with releasing a series of singles, EPs, and three previous albums, Automechanic, Peace & Information, and New Truth, she has shared the stage with Sixto Rodriguez, Violent Femmes, Father John Misty, and Faye Webster, and performed vocals on recordings by Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Conor Oberst, and Jim James.

Encompassing 11 tracks, Spectra begins with “Pleasure In Function,” a song Jenny O. describes as “particularly dear to me. It outlines some means of survival, seeing change as the only constant, taking pleasure in the simplest joys of life.” Opening on a low-slung, braying Hammond B3 organ, the tune revolves around rumbling, reverent percussion and antiphonal vocals.

Entry points include “You Are Loved Eternally,” reminiscent of The Bangles crossed with the jangly guitars of the Byrds, imbuing the tune with a hymnlike flow and shimmering surfaces. Jenny O.’s soft, cashmere tones give the lyrics warm, scintillating savours.

Slow and dark, “Prism” rolls out on a fat bassline and sidestick snare as glowing, gossamer harmonies complement Jenny O.’s dreamy, alluring timbres. Smouldering with new wave flavours, “The Natural World” features palpitating washes of leitmotifs riding atop a measured, straightforward rhythm as luminous vocal harmonies contrast the musing tones of Jenny O.’s vocals.

“There Is A Club” rolls out on dazzling layers of acapella voices, followed by a strident organ and tapping percussion on the outro. Perhaps the best track on the album, “Solitary Girl” blends hints of pop-rock and jangly alt-rock into a contagious, lysergic-laced pop-rock tune.

Almost gospel-like, “Saint Of Fun And Weirdos” glides forth on an organ providing the major chord as a descending bassline vibrates, delivering a floating, drifting effect. Radiant, retro vocals, akin to ‘60s ornamentation, imbue the lyrics with honeyed textures. Unquestionably sui generis, Spectra merges elements of indie-pop, alt-rock, jangle-rock, and classical auras into innovative compositions burnished by luxurious harmonies.


Xsnoize Author
Randall Radic 184 Articles
Randy Radic lives in Northern California where he smokes cigars, keeps snakes as pets, and writes about music and pop culture. Fav artists/bands: SpaceAcre, Buddy Miller, Post Malone, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, and he’s a sucker for female-fronted dream-pop bands.

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