Jenny Owen Youngs’ debut on Nettwerk, Batten The Hatches is a bittersweet treat that melts in your brain and not in your ears. Like a Hershey Special Dark bar sprinkled with Cayenne pepper, Jenny Owen Youngs takes the good American personae and adds a spice that creeps up on your taste buds and leaves a delicious aftertaste that lingers on for days.

Jenny Owen Youngs (JOY) surprises with velvety sweet vocal tones juxtaposed against bitter lyrics laden with her wry sense of humor and slightly bent view of the world. Often clad in a green tartan skirt and white button down shirt, her prep school looks take a turn when the lyrics to her songs start to seep into your brain. Youngs’ warm folksy delivery, her “girl next door” attitude and sardonic wit hook you in without you ever realizing it.

Her lyrics & witty banter are full of sexual innuendos and sarcastic defeatist attitudes. Here are just two examples. On “What The F**k Was I Thinking”, JOY sings with a sweet monotone the following words: “Love grows in me like a tumor, a parasite bent on devouring its host. I’m developing my sense of humor until I can laugh at my heart between your teeth, until I can laugh at my face beneath your feet. Skillet on the stove, it’s such a temptation, maybe I’ll be the lucky one that doesn’t get burned.” and even more melancholy is the song “Woodcut” with lyrics like “I still got three fingers left on this hand, take of your belt and I’ll do what I can for you. You sure look like you could be some kind of fun, now maybe it’s true you’re more gifted than most, you’ll still be remembered by the notch in my bedpost”.

Musically, she’s as equally surprising. On “Drinking Song” and ”Brick” you can hear Young’s accomplished acoustic guitar work and On “P.S.” you’ll find her on banjo, finger pickin’ the songs signature riff. Other highlights are Dan Romer’s Rhodes organ and Patrick Petty’s sweeping cello lines.

Even gossip maven, Perez Hilton is hooked on her. In a recent Newsweek article, he said: “If you don’t know Jenny Owen Youngs, then you must. You must! She has created what we think is one of the best love songs of all time.”

Her live shows are equally as enticing, infectious and dysfunctional as the CD. She does a great acoustic version of Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” and a mocking cover of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone”. Jenny flies over to London, England on July 27 and 28, where she is opening for Aimee Mann and then continues her tour of the states through October where she Jaunts off to England once more to show off her American “school girl” charm to the Brits. For more info check out her website or her Myspace page.

Batten The Hatches is definitely worth a listen (Be warned though, you may not be able to get her out of your head) and I have a feeling we are going to hear a lot more about Jenny Owen Youngs before the year is through.

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