When a band’s lineup found itself intact and remained true to its roots, the result is organic and overarching.
That’s audibly evident with The Jenny Thing’s “Lightfield,” a much-anticipated single released in digital stores last July, and serving as take-off single to the band’s upcoming album Drums and Guns.
The track is laden with strong hooks from all corners: chorus, guitar-riff, drum pattern, and bass groove.
Listeners will understand why the group’s sound is linked to classic ‘80s acts like The Cure, New Order, and The Smiths. The new record reflected their strong belief in the nature of their musicality.
“‘Lightfield’ carries a pivotal moment of rescue in the Drums & Guns story,” said vocalist-guitarist-keyboardist Matt Easton. “It is also about the British scientist Michael Faraday and all the light in the universe. It is a meditation on love, life, hope, and loss.”
Listen to the song and discover how fun that meditation is. Its cover art of a vintage car emphasized the melody-driven, classic touch of the arrangement.
Well, the respect hovering in the air in “Lightfield’s” nearly four-minute run has to do with The Jenny Thing’s deep background. The group, formed in 1991, took off as a college rock fan favorite in California. Its first record became the best-selling independent record of the year at Rasputin’s Music on Telegraph Avenue.
My good friend Mondo Castro of The Pin-up Girls' indie glory labeled them "legendary Bay Area indie band" for reasons I'm now convinced of.
Matt met guitarist Shyam Rao while they were students at U.C. Berkeley and they evolved into a songwriting duo. Drummer Mike Phillips is Matt’s childhood friend while bassist Ehren Becker met them in middle school.
Change of addresses pulled the quartet apart but they eventually found themselves back in Northern California a few years ago. Naturally, they began writing and recording new material.
Matt shared, “Critical was Shyam relocating back to California after time in other states. We hit the ground running immediately.”
Referring to the new album, he added, “The production and arranging run the gamut from very traditional to very deconstructed. For instance, a lot of the initial arranging had us on and off acoustic instruments, including a 100-year-old piano and a couple of Gibson acoustics from the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Vocals were cut under all conditions from perfect signal chains to being sung through a dishtowel as a pop filter into a $30 mic.”
Lyric-wise, every song in Drums & Guns was written to stand alone as a pop song, or in Matt’s words, “a manifesto, a prayer, a letter, or a love song.”
“Lightfield” is their offering after a long while and it gave the group's following reasons to be upbeat.
Matt closed out, “What holds all things together is that this stuff is being recorded intuitively, creatively, and experimentally in my home studio, and then sent out to two brilliant engineers. It allows us to paint or sculpt with increased abandon—each feeds the other.”
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