Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hardships - Jenny Wilson

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An album cover that features the Scandinavian Jenny Wilson (who has worked with The Knife) adorned in a flat cap holding a shot gun will probably give you some idea that this isn't going to be the most straightforward album you'll listen to all year. And within a minute of the opening track, The Path, with lyrics like "I wanted to be born, so I crawled out in the middle of the night, out of my mother" it's clear that this is all going to be, well, a little idiosyncratic.

So it's certainly not your run-of-the-mill female singer-songwriter effort, but don't be put off by that (as if you would be) nor by the fact that, nominally at least, this is some sort of attempt to use R'n'B as a muse because it's certainly nothing like most of the pap released under that guise.

Lead single The Wooden Chair mixes a bouncy drum beat, backing vocal that wouldn't have been out of place in O Brother Where Art Thou and bursts of percussion to startling effect and if it remains true that nothing else on this album quite lives up to the promise of that song, there are numerous other highlights to enjoy.

Pass The Salt turns childish backing vocals into something that Kelis would turn into a global hit, Anchor Made Of Gold is a better stab at a 70's Elton John song than Scissor Sisters have ever quite pulled off whilst We Had Everything slows things down a little and turns out to be quite a beautiful piano-driven ballad.

Not everything Jenny Wilson attempts quite comes off, but enough of it does to make this a very interesting and very good record. If you agree that pop stretches further than the latest abomination from the X-Factor, this is an album you simply have to check out. You shouldn't be disappointed with what you find.

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