Innocuous and pleasant, Jan's debut album is pretty straightforward alterna-pop; "Things I Imagine" cops a Kim Deal progression for its chorus, and "(I Just Wanna) See Your Face" is an update of "Please Please Me," and "Anxious Imagination" even sounds a bit like an indie rock Spice Girls. On the whole, The Early Year is punchy and charming, thanks mostly to singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboard player Jeaneen Gauthier's pop sensibility. What is pretty astonishing is how well-produced this album is for a homemade, self-released debut. Credit goes to Jacques Wait, former guitarist for the Matt Wilson band who, in addition to playing the synthesizer on The Early Year, did a remarkable job behind the board; Gauthier's rather twee voice and her relatively simple relationship songs sound perfectly at home. A nice, well-rounded debut from an up-and-coming Twin Cities pop group.
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AllMusic Review by Bryan Carroll