Beau Jennings is the ex-frontman of Brooklyn-based rock band Cheyenne. Upon returning to his native Oklahoma, he went solo and recruited local musicians The Tigers as his backing band. This 9-track album is the result.
Jennings says that “a creeping, looming thing permeates the record” in songs which he says reflect on real life situations. On the back cover, there’s a poem by Derrick C. Brown called ‘Hunger Sling’ but this offers no clear insights into what this ‘thing’ might be. It begins with the lines: “In the dumbest year of the heaviest light, I worshipped nutmeg.”
The fact that the album was conceived as the pandemic struck perhaps contributes to the general state of confusion.
What we actually hear is less interesting than this preamble implies. In essence, this is conventional rock music with standard driving beats and predictable riffs interspersed with moodier pieces offering vaguely autobiographical sentiments. Sunflower is more Tom Petty than Tom Petty and the brooding I Know These Guys is like a cross between Howe Gelb and Leonard Cohen. While professing to convey personal insights, Jennings only does so in a relatively anonymous manner.
The album could provide a serviceable soundtrack to a long car journey but it’s doubtful that any of the songs would linger long in the mind after reaching the destination.