Reviewer: Tiffany Razzano at Indie on the web


Uphill Both Ways, the sixth album of New York City-based songwriter Jenn Lindsay, is truly amazing. Her sweet but strong vocals and her acoustic folk-pop (as well as her lyrics) are reminiscent of early Rilo Kiley mixed with melodic pop of the 60s and 70s.

Lindsay starts off with the title track, an interesting mix of indie-folk and Americana. It’s followed by the upbeat "Brain." This indie-rock tune with driving guitars is a break-up song that puts a twist on the anti-drug slogan of the 90s. “This is your brain on drugs ... this is your brain on breaking up.”

"Belong Alone" is where the Jenny Lewis/Rilo Kiley sound really kicks in. This is a sweet, alt-country tune that mixes in a bit of indie-pop. The vocals sound like something right out of Lewis’ mouth. This is followed by "In Brooklyn," a song about life on the not-so-romantic life on the Bohemian fringe in the borough where she lives. On "Memphis," Lindsay does honky-tonk her way, with biting lyrics and sweet vocals.

Lindsay takes a political bent on her cover of "House in New Orleans." Her spare vocals and finger picking on the guitar have a good effect, as do her lyric changes. She writes new lyrics that refer to Hurricane Katrina, singing about the “chief on the golf course at the ranch” and the “evacuation of the whites.”

"Christmas Song, Part 2" and "In CA" talk about her moving out west to take time to herself and get away from problems. The former's music and lyrics are based on "Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow." She sings to her ex about a palm tree Christmas and how she, when their relationship ended, “let it go, let it go, let it go.” On "In CA," she sings to her ex, “without you I’m lost here” and implores this person to “fly out there and kiss [her.]”

She ends the album with the long, but worth it, "Kitchen Sink." It must have been cathartic for Lindsay to write. The song clocks in at over eight minutes long and bares everything about a relationship that had died. She sings, “I gave you everything but the kitchen sink, now I’m giving you what I really think.” As the song goes on, you hear the subtle anger in her voice building up as she gets more and more frustrated. It’s a great song both lyrically and musically.

This is simply an amazing album by an amazing songwriter.