Just so you know, I’ve been tossing any and all singer/songwriter CDs without even giving them a cursory listen. (Don’t worry indignant ethicists and publicists, I note on the Contact page that I don’t want this stuff.) The problem is that, objectively speaking, so much of it is so bad. Male singer/songwriters tend to be either bleak sadsacks or sleeveless denim vest-wearing douchebags. Women s/s’s are either breathlessly singing their high school poetry or want to be the next Shania Twain. Stereotypes? Maybe, but I’ve dismissed literally thousands of “artists” that fit these pigeonholes.
For some reason, I decided to give Jen Woodhouse a shot. Okay, fine, I saw her press photo and fell in love. Shaddup. Anyway, I’m glad I popped this in – it’s actually pretty good. Even though she’s from Nashville, this is ballady alt-rock instead of that twangy Americana garbage.
The music is over-produced and the lyrics are sometimes obvious, but her vocals and the melodies have enough bite to cut through the polish. Multi-tracked and overlapping vocals are usually pretty lame, but here it lends itself to a nice 90s style – reminds me a bit of Over The Rhine.
While “Gratuity” is a piano ballad and “Understand” goes for tinned violins, “Rearview” and “Vicious” are close to that girl-with-guitar 90s sound, and “Impossible” gently uses bloops n’ bleeps to good effect.
Will this change the world? Um, no. But it has a nice sound and it whiled away a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Bottom Line: Pleasant, but be warned that I’m still tossing the majority of this stuff.
Notable Tracks: Vicious, Impossible