Jen Olive – Warm Robot

January 01, 1970

(Ape House)


Producer Andy Partridge has his branding all over this
sophomore set by Jen Olive, a relative neophyte who garners attention by having
him behind the boards. While Warm Robot doesn’t find Olive a surrogate in the strictest sense, there’s little doubt
that Partridge is the musical mastermind here, purveying the same lush, loping
arrangements and shimmering atmospherics that characterize his typical XTC
outing. And given that the fate of XTC remains in limbo, Warm Robot may be the closest substitute, at least for the time


Not that Olive doesn’t make a particular impression all her
own; her overdubbed harmonies and ethereal ethos bringing to mind the quirky
precociousness of Kate Bush, a psychedelic sensibility that steers these songs in
and out of their melodic parameters. Yet given their swirling ambiguity, tracks
such as “Boulevard,” “Wire Wire,” and “All My Heads Meet” can’t quite match
their trippy glee with any real claim on accessibility. Even so, the beguiling
tone and textures of “So Funny” and “Franscrams!” have a hypnotic effect that proves
curiously mesmerizing regardless.


Ultimately, Warm Robot sources its appeal in an elusive ambience which makes it interesting,
intriguing and worthy of repeated listens. Those partial to Mr. Partridge will certainly
be delighted.


“So Funny,” “Franscrams!” LEE ZIMMERMAN


 Jen Olive gets in the Blurt Bully Pulpit to talk about working with Andy Partridge – go here to read her account.

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