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Jennifer Tefft - Shift
Gypsy Spin Music
By Ben Ohmart
(more articles from this author)
2001-02-12
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Artist: Jennifer Tefft (www.jennifertefft.com)
Title: Shift
Label: Gypsy Spin Music
Genre: Rock

Whoever said girls can't rock? Jenn takes it more seriously than some. She's not after head bangers, she's not looking for a hard edge you could cut yourself on, she's just a cat crawling between electric guitars, carefully using her whiskers to avoid the shocks.

Take the mumbly sex symbol spiel of 'Unnerved' if you don't believe. 'I am annoyed by the sound of the wind. By the color of her hair, by her scent on my skin. Am I alone in this or do you understand?' Oh yes, Ms. Thang.

There are times she holds her voice like a shield against the oncoming traffic and donkey carts thrown in her way, as 'The Only' illustrates. Her opening sort of valiant yodel paves the asphalt lane she's walking, controlling all in her vision. 'So is it easy on the other side? Maybe I'm a liar and I'm picking fights. And yes, I meant to make you cry.' She teases, but always has the mace ready if you notice.

A strong voice, a mighty woman. Tefft suffers from that dual syndrome of being able to carry a guy on her shoulders, then turn right around, let him down (gravity only), and be just the kind of girl he's seeking, full of feeling and shy promise. That's my favorite part of her personality, and it comes out in 'If I Want It', like an underfed Blondie, starving for a star on the Walk of Love. 'What do you see now when you look, look into the mirror. Does she look like me, is it clearer when you're on your knees?' Clever hooks of guitar licks and coupling lyrics that need to be watered with kindness to grow and battleaxes to keep it from thickening too hard.

Now that Meredith Brooks is out of the running, we could all use a better bitch to prod and squeeze and look up to and want at the same little moment in time. Jennifer's 11 tracks Shift from power to power, seldom giving in, always wishing for a subservient position of ascendancy, therefore a constant conflict from within: she's gonna Need a rock band behind her to curb her own desires. That this band rocks Anyway is cool whip on the pie.


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