Jenny and Johnny : I’m Having Fun Now
The raw exuberance and impassioned chemistry between partners Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice – strengthened by their prior workings on each other’s solo records – has not only led to the emergence of their own musical entity (Jenny And Johnny), but a spirited debut album in I’m Having Fun Now.
In line with the Los Angeles pair’s love of classic tones and frank songwriting, I’m Having Fun Now is a liberating, sharp-witted and wistfully engaging rock ’n’ record. Although Lewis and Rice wrote, performed and produced the bulk of I’m Having Fun Now , the duo gained invaluable assistance from Lewis’ Rilo Kiley band mates, Pierre De Reeder and Jason Boesel, as well as producer/musician Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Monsters Of Folk).
Scissor Runner ’s delectable fusion of Americana and garage-y jangle-rock is rife in delightfully quirky exchanges between Lewis and Rice; even if Rice’s assertion that “she ain’t a princess but she’s an artist/painting a portrait all over my heart” is slightly squirm-worthy. The pair’s wry humour, however, flourishes in My Pet Snakes, with Lewis’ rebuttals to Rice’s mordant exclamations proving a highlight: “We walked in on you while you were polishing your knives (while your eyes were turning green) / Sleeping in a twin bed with a serpent by your side (are you trying to compete with me?)”. The aforementioned tracks juxtapose the more serious matters explored in Big Wave ’s assessment of America’s economic demise: “living your life in the gray / Is the new American way,” mocks Lewis. “We’re spending what we haven’t made”.
The hushed lullaby ditty of While Men Are Dreaming is followed by the astute statement-making folk-rock of Animal; its provocative opinions expressed in the contradictory stances: “we must modernise Jerusalem / Detonate the temples / Let them fight over the dust” and “if you lose your fear of God, you are an animal at heart”. The surreal and outrageous tales strewn across New Yorker Cartoon depict the free-spirited, cathartic nature of the record, unleashing classic lines such as “I was stitching the seams of my open dreams with a needle from a camel’s eye”. The incredibly infectious Straight Edge Of The Blade, meanwhile, espouses a remarkable candidness that’s as sardonic as it is boldly assertive.
With its retro-pop melodies, girl/boy harmonies, and rollicking folk-rock charm, Jenny and Johnny’s debut album proves an irresistible record; but more pertinently, I’m Having Fun Now’s joyous playfulness, wry sarcasm and biting commentary is an emphatic assertion that real fun is neither for the faint-hearted nor the mindless.