Jason Kruppa | New Orleans, LA United States | 05/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It would be easy to lose Jen Trynin in today's throng of "girls with guitars," but "Gun Shy/Trigger Happy" is so well-written, well-produced and well-performed that to call Trynin just another girl with a guitar seems as criminal as saying F. Scott Fitzgerald was just another guy with a typewriter.For one thing, Trynin is an excellent guitarist whose playing is concise and often powerful. (One may be surprised to find, given the varied texture of the parts, that she is the album's sole guitarist.) She sticks to catchy, crunchy riffs and simple guitar figures that often develop throughout the songs, and her "solos" are chord/rhythm-oriented, which contributes to the taut structure of each song. "Gun Shy" has a wealth of beautifully realized musical ideas that compliment Trynin's pared-to-the-bone lyrics and evocative singing. She and producer Mike Deneen have used the bite of Trynin's 1994 major label debut, "Cockamamie," as a foundation and filled out her sound with such subtlety and imagination that every song is wholly satisfying in its own way. Personal favorites: "Getaway," which builds majestically on layers of rhythm guitars and backing vocals; "Writing Notes," where Trynin decries lost innocence with touching candor; and the delicate "Rang You and Ran," which is as neat a capsule as anyone needs about vulnerability in the face of a failed relationship.Regrettably, after such an artistic triumph, Trynin was dropped by her label due to what she has diplomatically described as "restructuring" in the music industry. We may all seize on music biz foolishness as an easy excuse for why "Gun Shy" didn't go platinum right out of the gate, but anyone familiar with the history of great music that somehow slipped through the cracks knows that this is the kind of album whose reputation grows by word of mouth and eventually becomes a classic. In other words, stand "Gun Shy/Trigger Happy" up next to The Velvet Underground's third album and Big Star's "Radio City." It's really that good."
*The* overlooked gem of 1998
Eric M. Van | Watertown, MA USA | 01/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An absolutely superb album of finely crafted pop-rock, leavened with a handful of gorgeous ballads with sparse, hip-hop influenced backing tracks that, for once, sound right rather than trendy. The lyrics are heartfelt and insightful, and on the closing track, "Rang You and Ran," they rise to a Liz Phair-like level of brilliance. Why this didn't sell a million copies is a complete mystery."
More proof that the best artists never get airplay
John S. Harris | Memphis, TN | 07/28/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you think the best records are the ones that get played on the radio and/or win Grammies, then you are WAY off. Trynin has released yet another wonderful pop-rock record, only to be dropped by her record label in favor of "better selling" artists. But the label's loss is our, well, it's our loss too. Trynin is as talented a guitarist as she is a singer and songwriter. She's the whole package. Pick up this record before it disappears into oblivion completely. Its hard enough to find good music anymore. Don't miss your chance on this one. Why ANYONE listens to the radio anymore is beyond me. ALL of the best stuff still sits languishing in the CD bins, unheard by the the general public's ears.
Or then again, you can buy just the radio hits and continue to be a part of the problem."
Great guitar pop that quickly grows on you.
John S. Harris | 09/30/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Once again the Boston music scene has produced another solid artist. If you're a fan of Buffalo Tom or Juliana Hatfield, you might want to try out another Beantown success story, Jen Trynin. Jen delivers an album that in many ways improves upon the promise of her first album, 'Cockamamie.' Her songs still retain the harder guitar that separates her from most alternative pop artists, and her voice and lyrics still show off her sarcastic and witty ideas. 'Gun Shy, Trigger Happy' delivers a little more variety. "Getaway (February)" is a pretty pop ballad, while "Under the Knife" is a creepy social commentary, reminding me of Mazzy Star or the Velvet Underground. And there are plently of the style of song found on her first album, like "Washington Hotel" which should appeal to anyone who was a fan of her debut single "Better than Nothing." Another find for fans of alternative music. I still wonder why people like Alanis Morisette get overplayed, while artists like Jen Trynin & Liz Phair deserve more airplay. There are plenty of female artists out there, who show as much skill with the pen as with the guitar...discover some of them, and start with Jen Trynin."