Technology has been reigning supreme in hip-hop, urban, dance-pop, and electronica since the '80s, but the singer/songwriter field -- like jazz and blues -- is an area in which real-time musicianship (as opposed to electronic programming) and the live experience are still held in high regard. Sure, singer/songwriters have a wide variety of technology to choose from in the studio; some use more of it than others, but even so, the fact that so many singer/songwriters started out performing unaccompanied solo acoustic sets in small, unpretentious coffee houses (often playing for the tip jar) does a lot to shape their musical outlook. That is why a singer/songwriter like Jess Klein can still sound great even when you put her in a minimalist setting, which is exactly what happens on House of Satisfaction. This live folk-rock/adult alternative album, which was recorded at Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction in New York City on March 23, 2007, finds Klein performing unaccompanied. No bass, no drums -- just Klein and her guitar, and that intimate format serves her well during an inspired set that ranges from several songs from 2006's City Garden (including "Make Love," "Hold Land," "All I Ever Had," "Shell and Shore," and "World Could End") to "Shonalee," "Soda Water," and "Shootout at the Candy Shop" from 2005's Strawberry Lover. The lack of drums and bass leaves Klein very exposed artistically, which is a good thing because these unplugged performances really demonstrate how much she has continued to progress and grow as both a singer and a lyricist. House of Satisfaction is an excellent addition to Klein's catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson