Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Jenny and Tyler grow leaps and bound in songwriting on the amazing 'Faint Not'

March 30, 2011

I’ve been following Jenny and Tyler for some time now. I’ve heard their music, seen them live and talked with them. Their charming folk-pop fell a little to the more serious side of the Weepies, and that was just great.

Faint Not blows everything out of the water. It’s almost not worth it to compare their new work with their old songs, because they’re just so much better. In one album, they’ve matured from a duo making fun and romantic music to a band crafting powerful songs.

They make this very clear on opening track “Song For You,” which unfolds from a gentle mandolin and guitar strum to a pounding, enveloping track that includes drums, bass, piano, guitar, mandolin, dual lead vocals and choir background vocals. I usually hate cymbals, but when the drummer starts mashing the crash in the high point of the song, it gives me goosebumps. When I turn it up loud, I forget to breathe.

The incredible part about the opener is that it’s not even the best track on the album. “Song For You” has powerful instrumentation, but its lyrics pale in comparison to the devastating “Faint Not” and “Through Your Eyes.”  Even though “Through Your Eyes” doesn’t have as marked a music crescendo, the emotional power wrenched out in the phrase “No one else has to know/about this” is incredible. The desperate cling to hope that is “Faint Not” resonated with me almost instantly. The great piano and guitar work helped out, of course; the gorgeous music video just put it over the top.

Jenny and Tyler share the vocal duties much more comfortably on this album than in previous efforts; they’re growing into themselves as a songwriting duo, and it shows in dynamic, powerful songs that draw from raw and honest wells. There are no maudlin breakup tunes here; instead, they ask deep soul and life questions. Just an attempt at lyrical depth makes me perk up; successful shots at it are simply remarkable.

The love songs have been cut down in number, but “As Long As Our Hearts Are Beating” bears more weight than their previous charming tunes. When you’re married you get to know each other pretty well, and while it shows not just in this song, this love song seems more real for the shared experience it’s grown out of.

The songs of Faint Not are an astonishing jump from their previous work. The whole album hangs together with an excellent flow, which is the sign of attention to detail. No matter if the songs are fast or slow, these tunes make my heart pound. Their newly fleshed-out tunes are head and shoulders above their old stuff, and above almost everything else I’ve heard this year.

Faint Not is a deep, meaningful folk/pop triumph, and it’s only their third full album. You’re forgiven for the clapping and jumping around you’re doing right now. Okay, maybe that’s just me.

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Comments: (2)

On April 3, 2011 Jenny & Tyler wrote...

Stephen - Just want to say thank you so much for the amazing review. We really, really, REALLY appreciate it. Seriously. Let's get together next time we're in Norman. -Jenny & Tyler

On May 10, 2011 Jared Shetler wrote...

Good review. I've only heard a little of Jenny and Tyler, but I'm already kinda hooked. I think I'll have to buy this album!

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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