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Music Review: Jen Gloeckner – Mouth Of Mars

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 Jen Gloeckner reminds me of one of those crazy
public-access television chicks. She is possessed of a singular vision, is bursting with creativity, and is going to share it with the world come hell or high water. Mouth Of Mars is her sophomore recording, following the similarly powerful Miles Away (2004).

Her music has variously been described as ethereal, dark and ambient. Mouth Of Mars certainly contains all of these elements. It is also a little more of a mature recording than Miles Away, with several straight-ahead rock songs. The addition of cellist Helena Espvall is a major asset as well.

“Mouth Of Mars” is the first track, and sets the stage for what is to follow. Like most of Gloeckner’s lyrics, the words are a dreamy mix of images, and complement the trippy music perfectly. Like much of the album, the song reminds me of nineties Euro bands such as Portishead and Hooverphonic. Gloeckner has much less of an obvious electronica vibe going on, but the ambience is very similar.

She shows her penchant for a good old rock riff on the very next track, “Pulse.” From there Mouth Of Mars veers between her peculiar nods to trip-hop and classic rock 'n' roll. Espvall’s cello makes its first appearance on “Burn Me,” and proves to be an excellent counterpoint to Gloeckner’s voice.

Her lyrics reach a creepy apogee on “Haunt You.” Over an acoustic guitar, Jen describes herself as the ultimate stalker, a ghost who wants to haunt you. We are in definite “crazy chick” territory now, and she does not disappoint. “Peace Among The Chaos,” and “Bailing Water” are further examples of a truly unique perspective on the world.

The 15 tracks that make up Mouth Of Mars are an interesting batch of tunes, and well worth checking out for fans of the more offbeat in music. The cover art by Justin Osbourn is worth special mention, as it is some of the finest I have seen in ages. If you still have a turntable, I suggest getting the vinyl version for the artwork alone. Mouth Of Mars is self-released, and the easiest way to get it is to visit Jen Gloeckner’s website.

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About Greg Barbrick