Quick descriptors are often signs of a writer being lazy and boring, but if ever they perfectly encapsulated a band’s sound, they do with Jennifer Gentle. Most of what’s written about the band almost immediately mentions where it’s from (Italy) and what kind of music it plays (psych rock). The act, the purview only of Marco Fasolo after the departure of bandmate Alessio Gastaldello, sounds set on a mission to create soundtracks for lost Dario Argento films.
The Midnight Room alternates between those more cinematic tracks and simple skiffle songs. In the first group is opener “Twin Ghosts.” A circular piano motif and Fasolo’s looped chants leaps over a background buzz. “The Ferryman,” a hectic, raucous instrumental, harks all the way back to when Italy was the center of classical music. It also recalls the great Japanese band Ghost, which means psych rock must be an internationally recognized language at this point. More creepiness ensues on “Granny’s House,” which is dominated by a single piercing piano note, much like song running throughout Eyes Wide Shut.
The circus skiffle of simpler tunes “Take My Hand” and “Electric Princess” will likely appeal to people who think the Doors’ best songs were “People are Strange” and “Alabama Song.” Even with their basic structures, it’s still impressive to think that Fasolo put down all of the songs’ parts himself in the studio. (Only on “Electric Princess” does another musician appear.) We might just have an Italian musical prodigy on our hands here. Franchetti and Resphigi would be proud.
“Electric Princess” MP3: http://www.subpop.com/assets/audio/3294.mp3