Monday, 30 November 2015

Jeans Genie

It's always good when an artist never rests on their laurels and continues to evolve. Even better when they completely reinvent themselves without warning. Some of them are like chameleons, forever changing their colours making it difficult to know exactly what they're up to. Beth Jeans Houghton is a chameleon.

Her self-titled debut EP in 2008 showed her to be ambitious and difficult to pin down, though the psych-folk label would probably apply, whatever it means. The second EP the following year had a much more country and bluegrass feel to it.

It was her full-length debut album that really raised the bar though. Now recording with her backing band The Hooves Of Destiny, there was another shift in musical direction. While she retained a folky element, the music on 'Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose' sounded at turns operatic, soulful and sometimes rather eccentric. There were, however, some cracking tunes on there, and it was actually one of my top five albums of 2012.

After a failed attempt at a second album with the Hooves Of Destiny, Houghton suffered a breakdown and retreated to the US. There she travelled the country and teamed up on her journey with Future Islands frontman Samuel T. Herring. Every so often, a song would emerge.

With a renewed vigour, Beth returned to the UK to record a new album. For this one, she decided a change of musical style wasn't enough - she felt a name change was in order too. Now bearing the Du Blonde moniker, Beth released 'Welcome Back To Milk' earlier this year and it's another belter. Altogether rockier than all her previous efforts, it nonetheless retains an eclectic range of sounds.

The two albums are well worth investigating if you're not familiar with Beth Jeans Houghton's work and you like what you've heard here. It remains to be seen what she'll get up to next.



  1. I loved 'Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose', haven't spent nearly as much time with 'Welcome Back To Milk' as I should have and was totally unaware of the Samuel T. Herring link-up until now. She's a very interesting artist - time I dug a bit deeper.

  2. That Pelican Canyon song is very very good.