jennylee: right on!

photo by Mia Kirby

Applying Warpaint's thin sonic veneer to yet another decade past on right on!, jennylee runs in place rather than moving forward.


right on!

Label: Rough Trade
US Release Date: 2015-12-11
UK Release Date: 2015-12-11

In the span of two albums, Los Angeles quartet Warpaint have examined myriad British musical movements from the '90s. Having co-opted dream pop, shoegaze and trip-hop elements for 2014's self-titled sophomore release, the band's bassist, Jenny Lee Lindberg, seeks out additional English musical avenues yet untouched by Warpaint, stepping back a decade or two further on her solo debut, right on!.

As jennylee, Lindberg puts rhythm first. Be it via electric bass or synth beats, the low-end throb of right on! sets the tone for the album's organic compositions, keeping mood pieces like bellowing opener "blind" afloat while upping the dramatic intensity on "never", where Lindberg's affinity for Joy Division-era Peter Hook is most evident.

Having perhaps oversold the bass-as-melody motif on the expansive Flood-produced Warpaint, Lindberg and co-producer Norm Block have taken a more organic approach to songs written during the recording of Warpaint's second album. Steeped in goth and post-punk, the 34-year-old Lindberg, seeking a "raw and elemental" sound reminiscent of her youth, finds secondhand concordance in that era's dour lyrical outlook and danceable grooves created by the likes of Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure and their respective peers and offspring. Creating atmosphere via rhythms rather than ambient synths, Lindberg can utter "Society is / Anxiety is / Misery is / It's a myth" while inciting one to move as on the beat-heavy "boom boom", a track ready-made for a David Fincher film soundtrack should Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross be unavailable to score. Likewise, the skittering acid-rock paranoia of "white devil" plays out like Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit interpreted by an LSD-addled Jim Morrison and covered as a b-side by Bauhaus.

Beholden to rhythm, Lindberg offers up pedestrian dance tracks such as the apocalyptic "riot" and the menacing pulse of "offerings", the latter bringing guitar to the fore. Both upstaged by the gliding "he fresh", the quiet storm standout of right on! exemplifies the album's minimalist production while also spotlighting Lindberg's apathetic approach to songwriting.

As with Warpaint, Lindberg's songs are nothing more than lyrical refrains and monosyllabic fragments masked by studio theatrics. See: "long lonely winter" ("I'm freaking / I'm freaking bad bad / Bad bad / Bad bad / Bad bad / I'm freaking bad bad …") and the threatening "bully" ("You better run away / I would run away / I would if I were you / You better run away / And get out of my face"). Forgoing any adherence to traditional narrative structure, "real life", the unadorned acoustic track that closes out the album, seems oddly foreign; yet, its fleshed-out nakedness hints at what could have been on this solo outing. By applying Warpaint's thin sonic veneer to yet another decade past on right on!, jennylee runs in place rather than moving forward.





12 Essential Performances from New Orleans' Piano "Professors"

New Orleans music is renowned for its piano players. Here's a dozen jams from great Crescent City keyboardists, past and present, and a little something extra.


Jess Williamson Reimagines the Occult As Source Power on 'Sorceress'

Folk singer-songwriter, Jess Williamson wants listeners to know magic is not found in tarot cards or mass-produced smudge sticks. Rather, transformative power is deeply personal, thereby locating Sorceress as an indelible conveyor of strength and wisdom.

By the Book

Flight and Return: Kendra Atleework's Memoir, 'Miracle Country'

Although inconsistent as a memoir, Miracle Country is a breathtaking environmental history. Atleework is a shrewd observer and her writing is a gratifying contribution to the desert-literature genre.


Mark Olson and Ingunn Ringvold Celebrate New Album With Performance Video (premiere)

Mark Olson (The Jayhawks) and Ingunn Ringvold share a 20-minute performance video that highlights their new album, Magdalen Accepts the Invitation. "This was an opportunity to perform the new songs and pretend in a way that we were still going on tour because we had been so looking forward to that."


David Grubbs and Taku Unami Collaborate on the Downright Riveting 'Comet Meta'

Comet Meta is a brilliant record full of compositions and moments worthy of their own accord, but what's really enticing is that it's not only by David Grubbs but of him. It's perhaps the most emotive, dream-like, and accomplished piece of Grubbsian experimental post-rock.


On Their 2003 Self-Titled Album, Buzzcocks Donned a Harder Sound and Wore it With Style and Taste

Buzzcocks, the band's fourth album since their return to touring in 1989, changed their sound but retained what made them great in the first place

Reading Pandemics

Chaucer's Plague Tales

In 18 months, the "Great Pestilence" of 1348-49 killed half of England's population, and by 1351 half the population of the world. Chaucer's plague tales reveal the conservative edges of an astonishingly innovative medieval poet.


Country's Jaime Wyatt Gets in Touch With Herself on 'Neon Cross'

Neon Cross is country artist Jaime Wyatt's way of getting in touch with all the emotions she's been going through. But more specifically, it's about accepting both the past and the present and moving on with pride.


Counterbalance 17: Public Enemy - 'It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back'

Hip-hop makes its debut on the Big List with Public Enemy’s meaty, beaty manifesto, and all the jealous punks can’t stop the dunk. Counterbalance’s Klinger and Mendelsohn give it a listen.


Sondre Lerche and the Art of Radical Sincerity

"It feels strange to say it", says Norwegian pop artist Sondre Lerche about his ninth studio album, "but this is the perfect time for Patience. I wanted this to be something meaningful in the middle of all that's going on."


How the Template for Modern Combat Journalism Developed

The superbly researched Journalism and the Russo-Japanese War tells readers how Japan pioneered modern techniques of propaganda and censorship in the Russo-Japanese War.


From Horrifying Comedy to Darkly Funny Horror: Bob Clark Films

What if I told you that the director of one of the most heartwarming and beloved Christmas movies of all time is the same director as probably the most terrifying and disturbing yuletide horror films of all time?

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.