Former Shy Girls member Jeni Wren has spread her wings and taken flight into a new, bold, adventurous and most of all breathtaking solo career with the release of her debut EP North Star.Packed with heartfelt lyrics, sweet harmonies and infectious funky beats it is a treasure worth listening to. Wren boasts a powerful voice that is dripping in soul reminiscent of both early jazz stars and 90’s R&B artists. She flaunts this voice in North Star, a pleasing amalgamation of soul, jazz, funk and pop.
The EP opens with “Release,” a suave and funky track with some excellent guitar progressions, percussion and a saxophone solo. Wren has a self-assured voice capable of executing various acrobatics while remaining smooth and clear.
“Don’t Call it Love” begins with a catchy, jazzy piano line that sounds like it should be playing softly from a New York Lounge. The percussive elements of the song are balanced expertly, contributing just enough to the song to add texture and interest but never enough to overpower Wren’s vocal presence. The addition of a saxophone solo results in a hot, sizzling and swelling tension within the track that give off a completely different vibe than “Release.”
“Love song” is just that. With straightforward and unabashedly honest lyrics like “I’m gonna write you a love song everyday, please won’t you stay?” Wren shows in this track that she has the rare ability to combine technical talent with visceral emotion. The result of this combination is truly captivating. This song emphasizes the trumpet more so than the others and a jazzy solo in the song completes it well.
The next track “The Dream” showcases Wren’s impressive range by her delivery of strong low notes in contrast to her clear and sweeping highs. Her talent at smoothly and effortlessly sliding from extremes in her range is truly remarkable. She sounds similar to Mary J. Blige, but with a slightly higher voice.
The fifth and final track is my favorite song on the North Star EP. A simple piano opens the track followed by heartfelt lyrics sung with soul and feeling by Wren. The addition of strings adds another constructive dimension to the arrangement, contributing to the melancholy, heartbroken feeling conveyed by the song. An extremely personal song, it embodies soul and blues on a different level than the other tracks. Without a doubt, this track should be listened to fully.
There is no denying that Wren captivates listeners from beginning to end with her excellent and pleasing North Star EP. Her sweet yet strong voice drips in soul and embodies powerful feelings. Her modern fusion of styles result in a dynamic and unique sound that may please a wide range of audiences. I highly recommend listening to her debut EP North Star which can be found at http://jeniwren.bandcamp.com/