Comfortably Uncomfortable

The Jealous Girlfriends

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Comfortably Uncomfortable Review

by Stewart Mason

The first album by Brooklyn's Jealous Girlfriends captures the band at an awkward point in its history, after the initial duo of guitarist and singer Holly Miranda and keyboardist Alex Lipsen had brought in drummer Josh Abbott, but before Abbott became the de facto co-leader of the band, singing and playing guitar up front alongside Miranda. So in retrospect, Comfortably Uncomfortable sounds more like a farewell to the original incarnation of the band, a clearing of the decks prior to the complete conceptual relaunch that took place with 2007's self-released The Jealous Girlfriends. These eight songs (seven Miranda-Lipsen originals and a mildly radical recasting of the early Smiths classic "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" that turns it into a musical cousin of beloved early-'90s indie kids the Sundays, particularly their philosophically similar reconstruction of the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses") are low-key and dreamy, with Lipsen's carefully layered keyboards underpinning Miranda's murmuring vocals and liquid guitar lines. The closest musical comparison is to Everything But the Girl, but in a slightly fractured way: imagine if the British duo had recorded the folk-, jazz- and country-influenced material of early albums like Eden, Love Not Money, and Idlewild with the chilly electronic arrangements of Temperamental and Walking Wounded. It's a slightly odd fit, but the best songs here suggest that Miranda and Lipsen could have continued fruitfully in this musical direction instead of reinventing themselves as they did.

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