I won’t take this opportunity to go into detail about women in rock and roll because, actually, it would cause a pigeon-hole effect and ultimately negate the power of the female musician and the ability that she has to make a real difference in the boys’ club of indie rock. I will say this, however: we need more musicians like Jenny Hoyston, more solo females making albums that are intelligent, experimental, raw, and powerful. The frontwoman for Erase Errata brings herself to a different level on Isle Of, her second solo effort, on which her music is rich in flavor and context while embracing several different styles of songwriting. And while Erase Errata has traditionally boasted an active, frenzied, dance punk style, Hoyston’s solo work has a sound that’s more stripped, specific, and rocks just as hard – but with a bit more subtlety and grace.
“Spell D-O-G,” “Bring Back Art,” “Novelist,” and “Structure,” recall the hip-shaking garage pop of Erase Errata, Hoyston’s guitar making raw, descending hooks along a backdrop of more experimental synth action. “Ruff…Ruff…/Rainbow City,” “Everyone’s Alone,” and “Babies with Rabies” are a bit harder to classify – they run the gamut of creepy avant-garde performance art to electroclash to experimental noise rock, and while they’re undoubtedly strong numbers, they unfortunately detract from the album’s ability to maintain a sense of real structure and focus. Perhaps that’s the nature of “experimental,” which I believe is Hoyston’s goal, but it nonetheless comes off as a bit scattered.
However, she redeems herself with “Break Apart, Reattach,” “Send the Angels” and “Kill Those Thoughts About,” which are extremely well-constructed tunes that showcase her strengths as both a songwriter and a guitar player while also displaying the tenure of emotion in her voice. “Even In This Day and Age” is the standout track of the album – as she croons “a little love goes a long way/ even in this day and age/ livin’ without love is like livin’ in a cage,” she makes a powerful jaunt into Janis Joplin-“Mercedes Benz” territory (except with a guitar) with an ode to the quavering wail of Corin Tucker at her “Buy Her Candy” best.
Hoyston’s efforts on Isle Of, while not perfect, are still respectable and always enjoyable. In fact, in many ways, the album recalls the early days of punk as an ethos, in which music was created without expectations or limits and musicians took their craft into their own hands. It’s clear that Hoyston is making this album for herself, for the sake of making good music without fear of trying something new, and that’s the mark of a true artist.
Erase Errata – Other Animals
Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out
The Gossip – Movement