I need to stop viewing the world through my own skewed cultural lens, the one dividing it up into the things that were new, exciting when they defined my own formative years and the things which later referenced the music of my youth. Yes, there is a lot of the darker end of the 80’s post-punk movement to be found in Jenn Vix, but as much as later musical historians try to frame that time as the new beginning following the punk year zero reset, the reality is that the likes of Siouxsie Sioux and those who quickly grew out of punks narrow confines were also looking back to artists such as The Velvet Underground who were in turn inspired by everything from garage rock to free jazz to avant-garde and African drumming.What I’m trying to say is that it’s all about evolution and Jenn sits at the end of a long line of non-conformists and explorers of darker musical places.
Unlocked is a collection of songs built on interesting contradiction. For music so cloaked in many of the musical trappings which often result in the tag gothic — fuzzy and visceral guitars, otherworldly echoes, strange sound washes, bleak atmospheric and glitchy electronica — there is a wonderful accessibility here, not to mention a distinct lack of pretension which normally goes hand in hand with the label. Maybe something more like dystopian pop or doom disco (the ultimate generic juxtaposition perhaps) is more suitable, if indeed we need to label it at all.There is also a vulnerability about the vocal delivery which, ironically, only comes from total confidence, utter focus and musical discipline rather than the little girl lost world it often hints at.
It is an interesting line to walk, one that meanders between pop accessibility and darker sonic reaches, alt-rock muscle and slick electronica, atmospherics and white noise, the then, the now and the what may be… but it is one which she does so both deftly and brilliantly. And to note that both John Ashton of The Psychedelic Furs and The Veldt’s Danny Chavis can be found contributing here says a lot about the allure of her as an artist and the attraction of the music that she makes.