Music Reviews

Jana Horn Optimism

(No Quarter Records) Rating - 7/10

Jana Horn details the part and parcel of being in a committed relationship on Optimism. As she implies in the album's title, the Austin, Texas singer-songwriter tempers her expectations and desires with a healthy sense of caution. Sometimes her words are piercing: “No time will tell my stories/When your mind's made up,” she sings on Time Capsule, sung in a calm voice and even calmer acoustic guitar strum. On the equally spare Emotion, she lets time take its natural course while bottling her emotions: “When I comfort you/It's just because I should.” But throughout these skeletal arrangements, Horn turns cryptic when she's about to give out more than she should—stressing ominous implications while using the mundane as a backdrop of her stories à la Raymond Carver, a writer she cites as an influence. Her country folk-tinged steady drifts have the occasional bass and horn accents. But overall, she wanders off in a pensive haze with hardly any interruption.