Jenny Gillespie’s “Kindred”
“. . . grab your sketch pad, some tissues, or your favorite afghan, lay on the floor, and give this one a spin.” -HEHolly Etchison
out of 10
July 17, 2010
I thought Jenny Gillespie was only my second foray into the genre known as ‘dream pop’ (the first being Beach House), until I looked it up on the internet (will the uses of this world wide web ever cease to amaze?!) and realized I have been a shoe gazer since my early teens . . . oh yeah. My second concert: The Cure. One of my first 45 singles: The Church, “Under the milky way.“ College years: the Velvet Underground (thanks Erin and Lou Reed). Adult confusion: the Violet Burning. So, I guess me and ambience go way back, I just never knew it was a musical category. Of course the rivulets springing from that stream are depositing different sediments of sound these days, but I guess as with every other style, you have to hear what’s at a song’s core. A video of Jenny playing an acoustic guitar version of “Dance Or Disappear” confirmed what I wanted to suspect at the outset: sounds, distortions, instrumental overlays aside, Kindred showcases a multifaceted songwriter with a soothing, melodious voice.
Sounds, distortions, instrumental overlays included, the album is punctuated with several standouts. “Golden Central,” the opening track, is a sort of Clannad-ish journey into the nether regions of somewhere you wouldn’t mind staying. Mostly it is interesting in a layered sort of way-there is a nice re-direction in the middle, building at the end with a drum breakdown, mesmerizing with intense piano and strings.
Happy digital bells and smoky sweet vocals hearken the Roches or the McGarrigle sisters on “In the Garden”:
Riding shotgun fears thru the garden..
Oh I have seen a picture and it’s getting worn with age
I swear it never looked like it does now in this place
…it gets worse before it gets better.
Distorted guitar finishes things out and it might be okay to swirl around in your room or take a deep breath.
“My Love’s Mind” refreshes with its straightforwardly clear vocals and sort of tiptoes its way into a fanciful imagination. I liked the idea “you are a gem stone locked in the current / I will get you out / I will get you out with my might.”
I might’ve gotten lost somewhere around “Merged Furs” (despite some piano moments that recover things rapidly) or “Blue Morpho”(which would be fun underwater): there are only so many soundscapes you can hear before you nod off, but as a whole, I would say a slightly heart sore emotional territory is mapped out for us on Kindred. Jenny Gillespie was meant to sing; her aim is perhaps best sung in the last track “Hearts For Eyes”: “I wanted to give you one small part of myself.” And, it never hurts to space out for an hour or so– grab your sketch pad, some tissues, or your favorite afghan, lay on the floor, and give this one a spin. Close your eyes and imagine you are flying, this is a dream after all.