Boomkat Product Review:
Matador are keen to assert that Jennifer O'Connor "doesn't pout like Jenny Lewis or flaunt velour pantsuits like Feist". Don't hold any of that against her though - the Brooklynite strays from the textbook female singer-songwriter template for all the right reasons: she isn't going to resign herself to the usual stereotypes; there's actually a very forthright and robust sound to O'Connor's music, something captured with a raw, unvarnished quality by John Agnello, the producer manning the desk on recent albums by Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr. and The Hold Steady (whose Franz Nicolay contributes piano, organ and accordion). Although the songs are presented in a fairly straight-forward fashion, usually based around acoustic guitars and a loose-fitting rock band format, there's something refreshingly on-the-fly about it all. Apparently, Here With Me was all recorded and mixed within 12 days, and the bulk of the album - vocals included - was laid down live. The unprocessed, unrefined nature of the music carries a real integrity, and even the more soft-natured ballads like the brilliant 'Valley Road 86' are rendered without cheap sentimentality, and leave quite an impact because of that. Recommended.