Jennah Barry, Young Men
Clearwater, Nova Scotia’s Jennah Barry began her music career by leaving her hometown for Toronto in 2006 where she studied jazz as a pianist. During this time, she also joined the pop-orchestra group, The O’darling – unfortunately her musical inspiration was dulled as “Barry grew sad and reclusive from a combination of homesickness and heartache”.
Quickly after graduation, she returned home to work in her “natural element”. The result is Barry’s impressive debut, Young Men, a collection of songs that touch on themes of heartbreak, hope, and more importantly, self-reliance.
Fittingly, an ode to her hometown, “The Coast” opens the album and sets the tone perfectly, revealing a singer-songwriter open to layering her folk songs with lush arrangements and dreamy soundscapes. Follow-up tracks, “Blackhole” and “Dead Give Away” will remind listeners of Sarah Harmer’s country-tinged pop songs and will be instant favourites. The soulful “Honey” is another highlight that begins with just an upright bass and Barry’s lulling voice that slowly builds into some beautifully produced horned and stringed parts.
Not all songs are memorable though, there is a mid-album lull starting with the much too slow “Sheriff”, the cluttered “4×4” and “Sweetheart” is ruined by an annoying and unnecessary vocal filter. Overall though, Barry’s debut album features some beautiful songs that are easy to love and her voice is something special. (Independent) ~ 3 Stars