Jenny Owen Youngs - Batten The Hatches
A quick scan of some representative lyrics are a good intro to "Batten the Hatches":
"love grows in me like a tumor;" "scraped you off the pavement like I said I would;" "everything I touch turns to shit;" jaded but not self-pitying rants are the norm here. Youngs has dug in and is determined to have her say, against lovers, losers and obsessions alike.
Strong narrative tunes too often delivered by non-descript folk chord progressions sometimes make for a disconnect that waters down the power of such tracks like "From Here," "Bricks," or "Drinking Song." More meat to her guitar playing might have risen the sonic temperature to match the writing. Yet there are times when both are right on the money, and the results pack a big can of whip-ass.
"Fuck was I" is a whimsical, cello-driven tale of rueful self-assessment; the ambient "Lightning Rod" creates a sense of claustrophobia made explicit in "Voice on Tape"; a disturbed voice mail intro to tale of obsession and loss, an insistent single note pulse adding to the brittle sense of fraying nerves.
This could have been a whiny self-righteous thing in lesser hands; the "I" in Youngs tunes here is more than aware of her own guilt in the various messes chronicled. A little more bite to the music, or even some well placed electric guitar, might have elevated the power of this higher.
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