Jenn Champion - Single Rider LPHardly Art
The full-length debut of a project by a well-established member of the Seattle indie music community, Single Rider introduces the discontented synth pop of Jenn Ghetto, formerly of Carissa's Wierd and S. Over the course of more than a decade with her solo project S, she delivered guitar-centric lo-fi that was eventually fleshed out with a full band on 2014's Cool Choices. After releasing the dark, post-punky "No One," her first song as Jenn Champion, in 2016, she settled into a more elegant, longing, synth-textured sound that, alongside programmed drums, still incorporates guitar. The airy opening track, "O.M.G. (I'm All Over It)," has a sophisticated, jazzy pop sheen that recalls bands like Everything But the Girl, and 2010s bands Tiny Fireflies and Young Galaxy. Songs like "Coming for You" and "Holding On" are similarly delicate and haunting but still anchored by sturdy beats and earworm choruses. That recipe holds true for most of the album, though it avoids feeling formulaic with the help of tracks including "Mainline," which plays with wobbly textures, funky rhythms, and judiciously placed silences. Elsewhere, "Time to Regulate" makes efficient use of contrasting timbres, including its keyboard tones, cowbell, and a rare appearance by Ghetto's high falsetto, whereas the rest of the set is heavily populated by her ruminating mid-range. Also danceable, it's a record that might have received heavy rotation on the MTV of the mid-'80s, although lyrics about timeless topics like unrequited love and just plain coping, and its intersection with the more wistful, pop-leaning indie electronica, make Single Rider very much of its time.