In 1959 Ken Kesey volunteered to take part in a government research program to study the effects of LSD on humans. His goal was to break through the conformism of American culture. He genuinely believed that getting fried could change society. From his experiences came the book One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nestand perhaps, more importantly, the counter culture movement known as the hippies. Kesey later went on to renounce the beneficial properties of acid but he had already opened the floodgates to the psychedelic era. And its hippy remnants that infuse Jenny O’s HomeEP. This is no bad thing. The five songs here wallow in a laid back 60’s vibe. In particular, Well Ok Honey, the first track – and arguably the most upbeat – hints at a stripped back Mamas and the Papas.
Finger picked guitar, tambourine and gentle piano blend and provide unobtrusive accompaniment to Jenny O’s devastatingly beautiful voice. On All My Wishesher close-miked voice sounds as if she is almost whispering in your ear - intimate and soulful. Won’t Let You Leaveis slightly more up-tempo but still maintains the minimal vibe. It’s like the film Deliverancebut without the inbred, murderous hillbillies. At times the songs adopt a Lou Barlow-esque slacker stance – with faux clumsy strummed guitar breaks – as if trying to re-enforce the hippy ethic. But this is unnecessary as Jenny O and her backing band are clearly way too competent to be convincingly lo-fi.
Sometimes the laid back Spike Jonze shtick becomes a bit trite, and the songs would benefit from a bit more tonal variety. But Jenny O’s voice has an edge to it that keeps you listening. For anyone who is partial to a bit of Regina Spektor or Feist then this will be right up your kaftan.
Posted: Fri 13 July 2012