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The Big Takeover Issue #91
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Jen Olive – Warm Robot (Ape House)

14 May 2010

Singer/songwriter JEN OLIVE hails from Albuquerque. The far-flung location (at least as far as the music industry is concerned) works to Ms. Olive’s advantage – the combination of few uninvited outside influences and the brain-frying desert heat gives her a distinctive acid folk/pop vision on Warm Robot. Playing nearly all the instruments herself (with some help from patron ANDY PARTRIDGE), Olive creates wonderfully odd pop tunes that moves through their own rhythmic spaces, throwing Latin and African percussion and droning, virtuoso guitars against catchy melodies and massed harmony voices just the right side of dissonant. “Boulevard,” the overtly Africanized “Framscrams!” and “Robot Boy” (a hit single in a more enlightened universe) may bring to mind likeminded artistes like ROBYN HITCHOCK, JANE SIBERRY and PETER BLEGVAD, but Olive’s vision is definitely her own. Quirky has become a cliché, if not a bad word, but Warm Robot embodies the best of what truly quirky pop has to offer. Beautifully strange and strangely beautiful.