Jen Turrell – Honesty and Apologies EP

Jen Turrell
Honesty and Apologies EP

You may or may not recognize Jen Turrell from her work with Rabbit in Red, but after a slew of seven-inches, cassettes, and compilation contributions, here she is with yet another solo release. When she is not writing and recording these lovely little folk-pop tunes, she can also be found running the record label Red Square, which she used to release this five-song effort in collaboration with Death Courage Records.
For Honesty and Apologies, recorded in Grand Junction, Co., Jen is joined by her mother Elizabeth Elgin on harp, as well as members of the Love Letter Band, who contribute all sorts of goodies like drums, cello, banjo, ukulele, organ, and xylophone. But the focus is consistently placed on Jen’s adorable voice and heartfelt lyrics, which focus largely on relationship troubles and other such issues. Her voice is sometimes a bit too chipper, making it feel as though a song or two is lacking in real substance, but such things are barely noticeable, leaving nothing but a nicely orchestrated acoustic folk effort.
As one may expect, the overall feel is quiet, personal, and painfully lovely. The opening “Hello Love” is the perfect example, as Jen sounds on the verge of tears at times as she ponders a relationship that seems to have been doomed from the start. “Annelie’s Room” is a bit more upbeat as the guitar plucking propels things along while Jen reaches for the high notes. But if you’re expecting nothing but sappy and overdramatic nonsense, Jen shows she has a sense of humor and a bit of spunk when she whispers “I’ve hurt you too, I’ve fucked with your head” on “Better Friend.” “Plane Crash” is a bit darker and more melancholy but with a lovely harp piece that weaves its way into your brain and refuses to let go, while the song as a whole is perhaps the most achingly beautiful of the bunch. Closing things out on a bit of an up note is the adorable “Trucker Time,” very much giving the feel of a talented songwriter creating songs in her bedroom and then packing up her acoustic guitar and heading to a friend’s home to record them.
Five songs come to a close in about 15 minutes, and though this feels like the sort of thing that could have been recorded in a single afternoon, there is no way to doubt the amount of heart that seems to have gone into it.