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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Review: Jennings - Storybook [EP]

Jennings – Storybook [EP]
2009, No Sass Publishing

New York City based siren Mary Jennings is back with Storybook [EP], the follow-up to 2007’s Femtastic. Jennings shows significant musical maturation since Femtastic, with more balanced songwriting and a greater sense of where the song is going. I wish she had skipped the vocal enhancement software because voice is more than good enough to be heard without such effects. Storybook opens with Doorway, a song of time and place focusing on the distinct lack of movement between two people with more potential romance than actual. The plaintive piano part that drives the song seems to evoke the sense of waiting for the tide to change. Figure Me Out is a Paula Cole style confessional that has the same emotional edginess featured in Doorway. This one has a strong commercial feel without abandoning Jennings' singer/songwriter ethic. Hero shows some Tori Amos influence (ala Past The Mission). Jennings shows just how accomplished a story teller she is without getting too wordy or prosaic. The arrangement is perhaps a bit too predictable but overall it's a good listen.

Your Way has a nice ethereal setting, walking the line between Sarah McLachlan and Enya with a melody line that stands out from the textured vocal/instrumental arrangement. This is the most sonically interesting track on Storybook and would make the EP worth owning even if it were the only track. Jennings closes out Storybook with a song of raw devotion and commitment in Umbrella. The imagery is a bit on the simplistic side but the song is very sweet, with a rhythmic component that's as comforting as the message if not more so. Umbrella is an incredibly artful depiction of the state of mind of true love or friendship

Jennings has come along way in a short time as a songwriter. Her ability to take complex thoughts and emotions and place them in simple song structure without diluting the thoughts, feelings or moments they represent is distinctive. Her musical arrangements are strong and fitting and worthy of attention in the pop/rock realm. I have no doubt that down the line a few years she will hold significant respect not just from fans but other artists. On Storybook she is an artist who is Becoming, with significant talent and a distinctive style that is a pleasure to watch develop. Make sure you check this CD out.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Jennings at or You can purchase a copy of Storybook at, or you can download the EP from iTunes.

1 comment:

Jennings said...

Thanks so much for the great review Wildy! ~ Jennings