What can I say, I’m a sucker for female singers/songwriters and Kim Talon, the woman behind Jan, is quite a performer. Her new project’s self titled debut is something of a throwback to early/mid 90’s groups like Sleater Kinney, Luscious Jackson, and The Breeders. While much of the sound created here might seem like a stylistic retread, Talon manages to spice it up with just enough experimentation and some rather interesting lyrical work.
The opener and lead single “Work for the City” gets the album off to a strong start with fairly laid back drums, a really cool lead guitar line, and a steady chord progression. “Praline” is an interesting track, opening with a high whining lead guitar. The rhythm comes in beneath and carries on calmly while the lead is left to experiment. The drums remain rather laid back, but are steady and provide a lush undercurrent for the track.
“How To Beast” on the other hand is an in-your-face grunge rocker with a sinister chord progression. Talon’s vocal harmonies on this track are really cool, rising just above the crashing din and distortion. The center of the song is carried by the bass guitar, providing some slight ambiance and room for Talon’s beautiful voice.
“Winter’s Got My Coat” is a great experimental track with barely there drums and some sparse use of violin. In addition there are some bell strikes that pronounce the icy mood of this track excellently. The album’s closer, “Knit Stems” is largely occupied by Talon and her guitar. The lead takes a backseat here and blends well with the rhythm guitar. This song feels very natural for Talon, clearly displaying her talents as a solo performer and as a studio composer.
While it is a strong solo debut, I would be interested to hear Talon take a more aggressive approach to her next release. Her vocal style is certainly alluring, but a little on the soft side for some of the harder tracks. Overall this record is great if you enjoy 90’s alternative rock, and while you won’t find too many surprises there is enough flair to warrant several repeat listens to take it all in.
MP3: Jan “Act Like a Pantry”