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JENNYANYKIND (Buy CDs by this artist)
Blues of the Afflicted EP (No. 6) 1994
etc ... (No. 6) 1994
Mythic (No. 6) 1995
Revelater (Elektra) 1996
Big John's (Yep Roc) 1998
I Need You (Yep Roc) 2000

Though the group hails from the indie-rock breeding ground of North Carolina, Jennyanykind stands apart from its statemates with a sound that doesn't particularly lend itself to 7-inch singles, pogo dancing or triple-bills with Superchunk and the Archers of Loaf. Instead, the trio of bassist Tom Royal and the Holland brothers — Michael (vocals/guitar) and Mark (drums) — mucks about in more psychedelic waters, spewing out the sort of trippy acid-pop skronk the early Flaming Lips excelled in, though it obviously goes back further, to antecedents like Pink Floyd, Hendrix and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

etc... also fits in fairly well as an American version of England's post-My Bloody Valentine space-pop. The record is both rumbling and dreamy, with most of the tension coming from Michael Holland, whose enervated vocals constantly clash with his hotwired guitar workouts; the rhythm section rolls along behind him both delicately and rudely. It's a good sound that can also be (as with most of the UK shoegazers) wan and generic. Fortunately, Jennyanykind renders the aesthetic with deftness and energy. There are murky moments, but the band generally has the chops and song strength — most notably, the riff-happy "Windchimes," the lovely "Shiny, Shiny" and the rolling "Long" — to pull it off.

Blues of the Afflicted is, good to its title, darker, rockist and groovy, though the somber tone is tempered somewhat by childlike touches of calliope rhythms and freaky falsetto backing vocals. Holland leans hard on his wah-wah pedal while brother Mark whacks the skins with new-found heaviosity, giving the epic riffs, slashing solos and thundering bottom end definite power. But with the exception of the whimsical "She's So Sinful," the songs aren't as good; in fact, they're barely songs.

Mythic pumps up the volume even more; the light, melodic qualities Jennyanykind had when it started are but a memory now — even the vocals are mannered and ominous. The din is of a more experimental nature, with skewed song structures, dissonant guitar tones, vaguely funky rhythm work and an overall feel of Tom Waits-style cabaret-rock strangeness. "Jellyfish" is an angst-ridden art ditty, while "The Tale of the Cigarette King" shuffles along nervously beside a tugging organ and a skittish guitar line. In two short years Jennyanykind has become both more intriguing and innovative and less likable. The band subsequently signed to Elektra long enough to release one album, Revelater, before returning to the indie world.

[Jason Cohen]