[14 March 2007]
Hailing from Baltimore, the Jennifers released their debut CD Nine Days Wonder to considerable acclaim in 1994. The group disbanded during the sessions for their second record Book of Bad Advice in 1997, though the disc was eventually released in 2002. Shortly afterwards, bandleader John Irvine reformed the group and began working on material that found its way onto this, their third full-length release. The band features primary songwriter Irvine on lead vocals and guitar, Joe Stone on lead guitar, Joe Tropea on bass, and the superbly named Skizz Cyzyk—evidently a figure of some reknown in the Baltimore area—on drums. Working with producer Dave Nachodsky (Squeeze, Greenberry Woods, Myracle Brah), the disc features ten originals and a cover of the Soft Boys classic “Queen of Eyes” written by Robyn Hitchcock. Mining the same hooky, melodic pop vein as Velvet Crush and Evelyn Forever, the album is a fun listen, though to my ear it lacks energy. I expect the Jennifers are a great live act, but Nachodsky’s production fails to capture the band’s obvious enthusiasm.