Leave it to an indie-rock supergroup to really put the alt back into alt-country. Despite a pedigree of bands that covers Bonnie Doon, Plumtree, and Area Resident, the masterminds behind GINNY use a little Southern warmth to subvert expectations of both themselves and the genre as a whole. And while you might think it would be too far outside their wheelhouse, this is one EP that will leave you hungry for more.
As opposed to the usual country with alt-rock aesthetics approach, much of GINNY’s EP revels in aesthetic and the clever use of genre conventions. Even a track like “Suddenly Something” often feels like a pointed rock groove, covered with a drawl and some twang.
Lesley Marshall’s vocals are just as wild as usual however, and you’ll easily hear it whipping up and down her range on most of the record. There’s something in the way they constantly teeter between both styles without ever feeling dishonest that keeps the album fun. This constant battle in itself leaves each track unpredictable and often extremely catchy.
GINNY also approach their lyrics with a rich folk-country narrative that leaves every song feeling as much of a winding story as it is a personal admission. “Leave” does this best as its vocals serve both a character and a reflection on the situations that they find themselves in. Every single bass hook on this record hits with a heavy hand, while taking plenty of opportunities to shift from rock grooves to funk, disco to even a little abstract playing. Their lo-fi production also serves the raw emotion of the album’s very human stories, and makes them feel accessible rather than unbelievably exaggerated.
Even in their patient slow-burning tracks full of thick bass and shimmering guitar lines, GINNY use their new voice to tell deeply personal tales of self-doubt and heartache. While “Choose The Wrong Man” can sound almost cheesy on the surface, it really digs into the utterly devastated emotions that helped country compete with the blues.
Marshall’s more vulnerable delivery in these moments really make the album feel strong, and show she’s able to step outside of her comfort zone as a singer (and knock it out of the park for that matter). GINNY also maintain a lot of their rock fury on this record, although it feels the loudest as “Choose The Wrong Man” cranks up its beat to shout its way out.
This grit mixes some Cream and distorted blues as they hit the pointed notes of “Fever Dream” however. With a little bit of Talking Heads art-funk, this track gets excitedly angry and can completely change tones on the fly. Though these jarring moments will be more testing on early listens, they eventually prove subversive and immediate the more you listen. GINNY also create a lot more anxiety in their layering on these louder tracks, which speaks to their collective ability to really shape listeners with their subtle writing.
GINNY’s debut EP definitely won’t be what you would immediately expect from Lesley Marshall, Kristy Nease, and Catriona Sturton.
Though the trio certainly push their sound into unusual territory, the writing is them through and through. With it’s fun blend of welcoming tones and abrasive performances, this record will reshape the way you define genres.
– Check more from GINNY: ginny-band.bandcamp.com/album/ginny-ep
– Also, catch GINNY and Catriona Sturton live: