Jenny O’s latest (and first for new label Mama Bird Recording Co.) album ‘New Truth’ finds the singer-songwriter laying her heart bare over gorgeous harmonies and slices of dreamy guitar. It opens with ‘God Knows Why’ – an honest evaluation of the night she suddenly lost all hearing in her right ear: ‘I could hear just fine last night and I sat up and now it’s quiet’. This song starts with slow, new wave-inspired hooks that give you the chance to reflect on what Jenny was going through (‘I’m in mono now forever. It was there and now it’s gone’) and how this seemingly affected others’ attitude to her. The second song on the album, ‘I Don’t Want to Live Alone Anymore’, sits in the same melancholy space as previous Mama Bird signing Courtney Marie Andrews as Jenny repeats the title and talks abour pacing around the house and repositioning plants and paintings to stave off loneliness.
‘Color Love’ has a more brooding alt-folk tone as Jenny dreams of having the chance to ‘get away somewhere new’ while ‘Old Habits’ is a reflective piece filled with ruminations about learning from past mistakes and growing into yourself. Amidst gorgeous harmonies, Jenny confesses ‘it’s me, didn’t mean to bark up that tree. I just thought I would say it in a moment of confidence’ and how she’s now come to terms with the fact ‘it’s not the end I was hoping for but it’s the answer that I needed’. Friction between loved ones is a common theme, especially on the early Willy Mason-esque ‘What About That Day’ and appropriately titled ‘Psychedelic Love’. The penultimate ‘Hard to Say’ also follows in this vein with Jenny pleading ‘Please be patient. I’m just getting overwhelmed’.
‘Not My Guy’ is more jaunty with a bass line straight out of the ’60s as Jenny talks about potential suitors who aren’t quite compatible with her: ‘Well, he’s a beautiul man. Treats me well. Newly divorced and he needs some freedom now’ – and this jangly chamber-pop sound continues through on the breezy and beautiful ‘Even If I Tried’. ‘Small Talk’ is more evocative as Jenny reveals how much suffering both she and the subject are going through – and how this pain can affect so many others. She draws parallels between chit-chat about the weather and stores opening to being delivered desperately sad news… The record closes with the almost-meditative ‘Seek Peace’. Opening in almost ambient fashion, it’s a hypnotic and comforting piece with choral vocals and a sprinkling of magic as the words of the title are delivered in hush tones.
‘New Truth’ is an unflinching yet gorgeous record about personal relationships and how we should value so much.