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Dead Oceans

Cassandra Jenkins - My Light, My Destroyer

Cassandra Jenkins - My Light, My Destroyer

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Cassandra Jenkins is quite simply one of the best songwriter-storytellers currently making music. Hers is a specific and singular corner of the Great American Songwriters, artists like David Berman, Adrianne Lenker, Jeff Tweedy and Sufjan Stevens. They’re artists connected by a sense of immediacy, not just in the writing – which is precise, evocative, brutal at times, pitch-back funny right when you need it – but by their delivery, by the way they sing with an immersive, total belief that carries you through their songs. These are the artists and songs that sneak up and really live with us forever, and on My Light, My Destroyer, Jenkins joins their ranks.

What’s most remarkable about My Light, My Destroyer is it captures an artist at an exciting leap in her evolution. So much about the album feels of-a-kind with its predecessors; field recordings and found sound permeate, narrative songwriting crashes into heady, swirling compositions. Jenkins sings with what can only be described as a power-whisper (think Sufjan Stevens, Annie Lennox, Margo Timmins or YHF-era Tweedy), her vocals up close and intimate but subtly confrontational. But it all feels bigger here, more finely honed, bolder and richer than her previous work and than her peers.

Born and raised in New York City, Jenkins has been touring and performing since she was a child, self-releasing her early recordings before releasing breakthrough An Overview on Phenomenal Nature in 2021. On My Light, My Destroyer, many of the songs are devoted to specific feelings, and to really getting inside those feelings as opposed to getting inside a narrative arc. Lead single “Only one” is one example, as Jenkins’s asserts that a moment, or a song, can be wholly myopic; it can embody a singular feeling, and provides no answers.

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