Album Review: jennylee – right on!

By on Friday, 18th December 2015 at 12:00 pm

Header photo by Mia Kirby


Though her band Warpaint is still very much active, bassist and vocalist Jenny Lee Lindberg has just released a solo album called ‘right on!’ under the unassuming moniker jennylee.  Warpaint released new music earlier this year and have indicated that they will release a full album in 2016, so there is no fear of them disbanding, but Lindberg and guitarist Theresa Wayman have both recently undertaken solo projects, and Lindberg has clearly made the most of her free time with ‘right on!’

The first thing you might notice about ‘right on!’ is the stylisation of the titles, which are written in all lowercase letters. This might seem overly precious on first glance, but it hints at the subtlety of the songs themselves, which are clean and crisp but presented without excessive fanfare. The music on the album, as you might expect, centres around the momentum of Lindberg’s cleverly composed bass lines. “My love has always been movement,” she explains, “and it dawned on me one day, how cool would it be if I could make music to move to?”

Lindberg has taken her time creating this record, allowing it ample space to achieve the movement she desired. She began writing the songs during the making of Warpaint’s self-titled second album, and after the touring cycle for that album was complete, she set her sights on bringing the new songs to life. Working alone allowed her the freedom to create in a “stream-of-consciousness mode”, and the songs as such feel very organic, with strong suggestions of ’90s style alt-rock, which Lindberg acknowledges, saying “I wanted [the record] to sound raw and elemental. [It] reminds me of my youth.”

Moving in a different direction from her work with the all-female Warpaint, Lindberg invited a group of male colleagues to assist with ‘right on!’, including co-producer Norm Block, who also plays drums in her touring band. “I wanted [some] masculine energy on this album,” she admits, and it is perhaps that masculine energy that gives the album a sharper focus and more immediate impact than Warpaint’s muted style. The production of ‘right on!’ is clear and precise, keeping the vocals and the rhythmic foundation at the forefront of the overall sound.

Opening track ‘blind’ is a bit of a slow starter, as Lindberg intones the vocals in a trance-like chant over a starkly angular guitar melody. But ‘boom boom’ quickly picks up the pace with a driving bass riff and an anxious drum rhythm under the intensely restrained vocal delivery, and lead single ‘never’ is concise and direct, led to its dynamic climax by an arrestingly hypnotic guitar line.


The stylistic guitar melody carries over into outstanding track ‘long lonely winter’, where Lindberg combines a cool ambience appropriate to the title with a dirtier, more sensual rhythmic undertone. ‘bully’ and ‘riot’ are darker and more deliberately aggressive, with lyrics like “I’m gonna get her / I’m gonna tear her inside out” in the former and the growled repeat of “it’s a riot” in the latter. These two songs seem a bit contrived, as if Lindberg felt the need to prove her toughness and tenacity in this first solo outing, and ‘riot’ in particular breaks the overall mood and flow of the album. But the ambience is regained in ‘he fresh’, with Lindberg’s smooth vocal delivery and a clean yet soulful rhythmic underpinning.

Lindberg allows her vocals to take center stage in a remarkably effective fashion on album closer ‘real life’, alternating between a soft whisper and a throaty snarl over the austere guitar line.  Layered vocal tracks create an echoing effect as she trails off in the final repeated line “I see I’m not so limber…”

Despite that closing statement, ‘right on!’ is a testament to Lindberg’s musical flexibility and rhythmic prowess. Here she has taken her established bass-playing strength and expanded upon it to put together an album that is remarkably refined and polished, yet still emotionally potent.


Jennylee’s solo album ‘right on!’ is available now via Rough Trade Records. TGTF’s previous coverage of Lindberg’s band Warpaint can be found by clicking here.

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