The Who: Jenn Grant (www.jenngrant.com)
The What: Honeymoon Punch
I know I’ve already mentioned Sean B. this week, but it’s a Friday. And he often gives great recommendations. And seeing as it’s time for a Friday Friendly Find, I’m going to give him yet more credit.
And that credit is in the form of Jenn Grant. Halifax songstress. I’ve never heard of her. He saw her live, got the album, gave it listen (a few times) and knew I’d like it. Fast forward a few days and I am sitting at home on a Friday night (I know, I know) with a glass of wine, sitting on the couch on my back deck, enjoying the faltering heat of a sweltering day listening to new music. A good way to spend a night.
Now, I’m inclined to like Jenn Grant without even listening to her. She’s a ginger. And we gingers have to stick together (we’re almost an endangered species!). But, that kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog where we review and talk about music. So, in she goes.
At first listen, Jenn Grant is redolent of my two favourites Kates (Bush and Nash). Which means the album is playful, to my ears anyway. It’s the best I can describe it. Cute and fun. But not fluffy pop goo. It has some chops. I’ve read, quite a bit actually, that Jenn Grant’s previous album, Echoes, is much more guitar-ridden, not to mention angst-ridden, which is usually my very favourite. Whereas this album is filled with a more synthetic sound – I did find it pretty keyboard-heavy – which is not a bad thing at all. The cute sounds found on Honeymoon Punch is a good way to introduce myself to Jenn Grant. It’s not too serious off the hop. I like her. She seems precocious and playful. I can always dive into the serious stuff later. This is just the “get to know ya” phase, so the album works for new listeners.
Side note: I wonder if she ever gets annoyed at having to answer interview questions about how they believe Echoes was this big breakup album and Honeymoon Punch is her gooey love album? Why can’t she just feel like writing/singing something a bit different?
Even the slower numbers are upbeat in feeling. Frankly, it’s lovely summery music. It makes me smile. From feel-good simplicity in Paradise Mountain to lovely opening harmonies in Walk Away (which then moves from the fresh and slower tune I was expecting to a sharp snare backbeat, unexpected horns and a punchy beat). Jenn Grant manages to make her songs relevant with the folk-y, almost San Francisco Sound vibe that I’ve predicted is coming back in a huge way (if it’s not already here). Although, equally surprising is to move farther along the album and hit a song like the previously mentioned Walk Away. Which has a bit of an 80s feel. And it all kind of works together, oddly enough.
On first listen, it’s eclectic (which you know I like) and utilizes a variety of instrumentation, beats and, seemingly, influences. Funnily enough, I’m listening and wondering if the album is almost a testament to sounds I love from different decades. We’ve covered 50s go-go; 60s/70s folk; 80s electro – even Baby’s Been Away has an almost-90s grunge guitar start to it. Maybe to some, it may seem like a muddle. For me, it was more of a progression. A bit slow and dreamy to start, moving into stronger beats and punches of little surprises and ending with a very lovely parting note in the simplistic Stars to Waves that showcases some gorgeous and enviable vocals. My favourite part? Halfway through that song. A very interesting change-up that lasts until the very end. I’ll let you listen for yourself, but it’s worth lasting through the entire 6+ minute song.
So, since I’ve not listened to her previous albums, I’m basing my opinion on Honeymoon Punch. It’s fun. It’s fresh. And I’m going to give my credit card a work out by buying Echoes just to compare the two projects that are so seemingly different. Definitely worth a listen. Preferably with a fruity frozen drink, sitting on a beach with the people you have the most fun with. It’s just that kind of an album.
Top 3 Highlights:
Getcha Good: Not only is it cute and perky, but it kind of makes me want to have Nancy Sinatra follow it on a playlist on my iPod. I likened it to “Girl Weekend Music”. That’s big accolades. Although, I do have to say that it is likely the most “marketable” song on the album. Which usually means I avoid it. I didn’t this time. Strange, that.
Stars to Waves: Okay, it doesn’t start off as the most “upbeat” song, but it gives you an idea of just how stellar Jenn Grant’s vocals are. And don’t forget the little surprise (think big instrumentation) halfway through. I like surprises.
Heart of Sticks: Kind of a mix of 50s-a-go-go and folky pop and some pretty lovely harmonies. Definitely interesting. (it was a hard choice between Heart of Sticks and Walk Away – Walk Away’s 80s electro-pop sound was definitely a draw. It definitely gets an honourary mention)
Nicely played, Jenn Grant. And now I want more.
Getcha Good Video:
p.s. Dear Lila, I’m sending you samples. We want to hear what you think!!