JAN is the new solo project of Kim Talon, formerly of the Los Angeles duo Eagle and Talon. Now based in Brooklyn, she has now released her self-titled debut solo album.
The album opens with the catchy riot-grrrl swagger of lead single Work For The City, a promising beginning for any new artist, and it’s a song which you could easily imagine being played on the radio –it’s got that alternative but accessible guitar pop thing going for it. This is followed by the punky Some Bite_Some Bitten, which makes Talon sound a lot like Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs; her voice has that same girlish but rough-round-the-edges quality.
And that’s pretty much how you could describe the overall sound of JAN, in fact. It’s genre blurring, with punk, riot-grrrl, grunge and shoegaze all thrown into the mix, some songs having one come more to the fore than the others: for example, Praline is pure grunge at its heart, while Red Crust Ow is a sweet and sour chugging punk record. Then there’s the ethereal, twinkling riffs of All Of These Igloos or Knit Stems, and yet it doesn’t really clash at all. The album seems to take a natural middle road between these genres, subtly taking on qualities of all so that they melt together to create something that sounds like the consummate nineties alternative record.
The album couldn’t really be described as commercial. Catchy yes, but it’s also somewhat abstract and whimsical, with song titles like ‘Act Like A Pantry’ (which features a recorder bridge), ‘Winter’s Got My Coat’ and ‘Ailing Ale’ which sounds as drunken as the title suggests, the baggy guitar chords just about managing to hold a tune together (sort of) beneath Talon’s tipsy vocals.
Of course, one possible problem with this album is that it’s not heavy enough to satisfy grunge fans, not punchy enough to satisfy punk fans, and too direct to be shoegaze, leaving the album a little stuck in the middle. But for the most part, Talon does a good job of bringing these elements together and making it sound natural.