In some alternate universe, there is school of music writing. It takes place at the Frank Zappa School of Rock Journalism, and after courses on glasses, beard maintenance, and using only outlaw country references to describe punk rock, one is taught to review a record without referring to any better known artists.
Most students fail.
Jennie Vee is a talented singer, bassist, and guitarist who is starting to make waves in NYC. She is an artist that grabs your synapses with a familiarity that is grounding, but that is just the jumping off point. That said, most reviewers of Vee’s newly released EP, Die Alone, tend to trip over themselves comparing her to dozens of obvious musical antecedents.
She has her influences. That said, I am going to attempt a review without naming them. If your music collection is even close to mine, or as I suspect Jennie’s, you can make up your own scorecard.
Die Alone kicks off with the title track, and you should know exactly what is up. “Does it matter if we all die?” This is a sultry, layered, percussive song that sounds like the soundtrack to the coolest funeral parlor in late 80s Glasgow. “Alone, alone, alone…”
“Wicked” is probably my favorite song. It is a lurching, chugging affair that leads into a killer, wide open chorus of “and there’s no rest for the wicked, no sleep for the blessed. I’m waiting for night to fall.” Put on your shades, stare at your shoes as the music swirls around you. You know you have felt this way before. It’s a feeling that never really leaves.
“Say Goodbye” isn’t really slower, but it feels like the sort of empowering ballad for which all artists should aim. “Gone Away” is a Hallmark card filled with broken glass.
“Red Flags” is noticeably less aggressive. There is room for forgiveness and acceptance in the lines “so reach out, be good to me.” It is the last track on Die Alone, and it is a perfect lead in to Jennie Vee’s most recent release, the single “Never Let You Down.”
There is an openness and clarity that is refreshing in the lines, “and I will never let you down, and I will never let you down, I’ll never let you down, no, not again.” Whether this is the direction Jennie Vee will be traveling in her next release remains to be seen, but there are worse places one could go.
Jennie Vee is an artist who can hide sentiment black as pitch in a breathy vocal, and transcendent moments of victory and forgiveness in the middle of oceans of layered reverb. Yes, she is her influences, but she is more than the sum of her parts.
If you are happy when it rains, then you should be into Jennie Vee like a train. I tried. I really, really tried, but sorry Frank Zappa School of Rock Journalism, it looks like I am back to the cooking school down the street next semester.
Lead-In Image Courtesy of Jennie Vee; Photography by Katrin Albert
NewsWhistle music contributor Chad Werner is “ahead of the curve, behind the times.” You can contact this rock n’ roll sphinx at firstname.lastname@example.org.