Jenny O. has released four albums of folk- and indie-pop characterized by warm vocals, affecting lyrics and an irrepressible spirit that belies her shy demeanor. As poignant as her catalog is, though, nothing has quite prepared us for the whimsy evident in the singles she’s released this year.
“There Is a Club” is virtually a cappella, save for a hint of organ and light percussion, with Jenny O. dueting with herself and declaring her outsiderness: “There is a club / I am not in it.” Spinning off that theme, the song is followed on the album by “Solitary Girl,” which chugs merrily along like a first-wave punk song. Here, she’s so alone that she’s “got no number to call.”
“I feel a wildfire instinct to rage and shred, and I am ecstatic to do so with punk music at last on ‘Solitary Girl,’” Jenny O. says. “At some point this song became inseparable from ‘There Is A Club,’ so I’m releasing them both and hope they live on together.”
Those tunes follow the release of the dreamy, swirling “Prism” in May and, last month, “The Natural World,” a hymn to Earth that was accompanied by a Sam Gezari video filmed in the redwood forests of northern California.
Considered together, the four singles make “Spectra” — which, like her 2020 album, “New Truth,” was made with producer/engineer Kevin Ratterman — seem as if it might be a flight of fancy, and one you’d want to book a seat on.
“‘Spectra’ is my favorite record I have made and my most joyful,” Jenny O. says. “Love, connectivity, communication, truth, inquiry, by repetition … Punk, R&B, rock ’n’ roll, call-and-response, chant, ballads on my knees … Bass, electric guitar, organ, harmony, drums, drone, insects, the sea … I hope you feel it.”
||| Stream: “There Is a Club” and “Solitary Girl”
||| Also: Watch the video for “The Natural World”