Staten Island, NY’s Jenno Snyder is all that consists of the experimental act that is Jenno. Her latest album is Too North and I have more than a little crush on this entire album and the artist. WHAT IS THIS?! WHERE DO I BEGIN?! Lemme put it like this, this album is not for everyone. Some will say it's grating, a mess or just not their cup of tea. However, the people that this album is for, I feel will find it as cathartic and endearing as I did. The truth is this album may be for no one, but I am desperate to find others that love it.
If I were to attempt to put this music int any genre it would fall somewhere between post punk and grunge, but don't let that limit your view. There's a little indie rock and some math rock. It's an elaborate collection. The album opens on a dank, ambient piece that is wholly instrumental although there is a startling lack of instruments. The opening track sort of preps you by making you uncomfortable and anxious. Then you get into tracks that feature vocals and more traditional song elements. However song structure remains refreshingly fluid. Snyder throws some pretty wicked curve balls, but they're all fabulous.
The lyrics on this album are not just good, they're iconic. She's not flowery with her words either, she's just a very keen observer. She doesn't even drone on. She's often pretty sparse with her words and still incredibly effective. I think it's safe to say she falls under the poet category as a lyricist. There's also her voice which floored me the second I heard it. She is gruff, aloof and also demure and civilized. Her performance is so visceral and unapologetic that it's very inspiring and also comforting.
The subject matter is murky and not well defined, but this album hit a nerve for me on more than one occasion. It almost seemed to zero in on my panic disorder, my insecurities, the unshakable memories of horrific mistakes I have made and my worst fears and speaks to those parts of my brain. There is something about what Snyder wanted to communicate with her work that put me at such ease. I have a firm belief I'm not the only one who could relate so heavily to this album. For me it embraces the mess and inevitable discomfort life tends to dish out. I think anyone who accepts those aspects of life with open arms can really appreciate the message being delivered.
Jenno's Too North gets high marks from me on several factors. One, the originality and candor is off the charts. Two, there's enough of this album to truly satisfy me. A lot of times albums this experimental are these short little statements with a limited number of tracks. Three, I'm in the middle of one those Aprils where winter just will not let go and this album put me in a great mood.
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