It’s evident when something very precious has been lost. The grasp you had on a sure thing slipped and you never saw it coming. Jenn Ghetto has a way of encapsulating the worst moments you’ve ever experienced on her new record with her band, S.
From the pained nostalgia of “Vampires” to numbly asking “was it really ever worth it?” in the post-mortem of a relationship, Ghetto cuts to the quick in a way “sad songs” so rarely do.
Cool Choices brings to mind all the times you’ve been surprised in the worst way. It’s a break up record; it’s for that awkward period of readjustment when you force yourself to move on. Ghetto’s raw emotion and music were further channeled to great effect by producer Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) who is no stranger to songs of heartache and loss.
“I feel like he is really good at making this multi-instrument sounds that doesn’t sound too rock band-ish. I knew he could keep the delicate in there.”
“Brunch” is a good example of the delicate to which Ghetto refers. It’s a heart wrenching affair with a guitar intro that would make every member of The Cure bite their knuckle in envy.
While S began in Ghetto's bedroom, it's moving to a more collaborative affair. The band includes Carrie Murphy on guitar, Besty Olson on bass and synthesizer and the drummer Zach McNulty who is most at home in metal bands.
When asked where a musician like McNulty fit in with the quiet, beat up frustration that lines the edges of Cool Choices, Ghetto says “Sometimes I find when I play with musicians who it’s not their style they have to get creative, because they don’t normally play with quiet instruments. So I knew Zach was going to be really interesting to play with but it was hard. It was, ‘Are you sure you want me playing on this record?’ And I was like, ‘I do. It’s just gonna take a little time.’”
As for those “cool choices” that inspired the album’s title, Ghetto says it came as a response to the heavy nature of the songs.
“A friend [and I] were joking about the record title and calling it something kind of silly. I think, when you’re trying to figure out your life and you have to make a lot of choices sometimes you do dumb things and sometime you do cool things. It’s all encompassing."
Cool Choices is out now on Hardly Art records. S plays the CMJ Music Marathon in New York this week.