Jenny Lee is Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint. Right On! is her debut album. Guests appearing on the album include Norm Block, from ‘90s goth-rockers Plexi, who also produced the album with Jenny Lee, Dan Elkan from Them Hills and Broken Bells and Warpaint cohort Stella Mozgowa. The album’s sound has some elements of the Warpaint sound whilst adding new wave and goth to the mix.
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A superhero crew blessed with the preternatural ability to make songs sound great without hooks -- or particularly good verses or choruses -- Warpaint are known for kicking [Composite Marvel Nemesis]’s ass with very subliminal earworms. A year and a bit on from their slight, ever-so-lethargic self-titled record, team player Jenny Lee has unleashed her own brand of the slow groove, walking her way through the gothic architecture of ‘Right On!’ like she owns the place. Which she does. Because it’s her album. Also it’s good. I’m a writer!
As ever, it’s kind of a wonder that these sounds get collated together; fatigued post-punk riffs intermingle with skittering, way pacier drum fills, while Lee’s voice is scoped out in the distance, both totally tethered by the music and running free of it. As this record develops, though, Lee seems to prove herself to have more substance than her own band; these songs are clarified with properly tangible hooks, as on “Never”, and the Cure-esque pastiche of “Long Lonely Winter” uses off-kilter guitar pluckings to draw the listener in, rather than let them walk along parallel. “Winter” opens itself up to a suddenly danceable bass groove and liquid synths, offering an unexpected dynamism -- which is to say, shit gets spooky.
While ‘Right On!’ starts with the same peculiar, slow-mo theatrics of a Warpaint record, it’s clear that Lee is interested in making a more straight-up catchy, body-moving pop music -- “Offering” has those repetitive, motorik guitar riffs, but couples them with a chorus as forceful and numbingly memorable as those off Neneh Cherry’s recent ‘Blank Project’. Most importantly, Lee’s ability to switch up the minute details of her song -- to let a guitar riff trickle down after a bold instrumental climax -- makes ‘Right On!’ something to pay for in attention.
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