Dead Oceans

Cassandra Jenkins - My Light My Destroyer LP (Pink Clear Wave Vinyl)


Cassandra Jenkins is quite simply one of the best songwriter-storytellerscurrently making music. Hers is a specific and singular corner of the Great AmericanSongwriters, artists like David Berman, Adrianne Lenker, Jeff Tweedy and Sufjan Stevens.They're artists connected by a sense of immediacy, not just in the writing - which is precise,evocative, brutal at times, pitch-back funny right when you need it - but by their delivery, bythe way they sing with an immersive, total belief that carries you through their songs. Theseare the artists and songs that sneak up and really live with us forever, and on My Light, MyDestroyer, Jenkins joins their ranks.What's most remarkable about My Light, My Destroyer is it captures anartist at an exciting leap in her evolution. So much about the album feels of-a-kind with it'spredecessors; field recordings and found sound permeate, narrative songwriting crashesinto heady, swirling compositions. Jenkins sings with what can only be described as a powerwhisper (think Sufjan Stevens, Annie Lennox, Margo Timmins or YHF-era Tweedy), hervocals up close and intimate but subtly confrontational. But it all feels bigger here, morefinely honed, bolder and richer than her previous work and than her peers.Born and raised in New York City, Jenkins has been touring and performingsince she was a child, self-releasing her early recordings before releasing breakthrough AnOverview on Phenomenal Nature in 2021. On My Light, My Destroyer, many of the songs aredevoted to specific feelings, and to really getting inside those feelings as opposed to gettinginside a narrative arc. Lead single "Only one" is one example, as Jenkins's asserts that amoment, or a song, can be wholly myopic; it can embody a singular feeling, and provides noanswers.Songs like Devotion, Delphinium Blue, Clams Casino, Echo, and Only One,speak to the liberating quality of focused observation, even to the point of disillusionment."There's this idea about disillusionment that I've held onto," she says. "I really appreciatedisillusionment as a process to discover new, unexpected outcomes. We let go of expectationsthis way. Expectations hold us back. It's easy to focus on jadedness or disappointment but Iactually see it more as freedom."

1. Devotion
2. Clams Casino
3. Delphinium Blue
4. Shatner's Theme
5. Aurora, Il
6. Betelgeuse
7. Omakase
8. Music?
9. Petco
10. Attente Téléphonique
11. Tape and Tissue
12. Only One
13. Hayley