Jeen Shines on 'Gold Control'

BY Sarah ChodosPublished Feb 2, 2024


A longtime purveyor of technological wizardry with a lo-fi sentiment, Cookie Duster member Jeen O'Brien feels part of Canada's essential musical atmosphere. Unafraid of experimental sound nor the catchy riffs that make commercial hits, her style is both big and intimate. Gold Control, her latest record as Jeen, finds her in a state of contemplation, adding tinges of shoegaze and '80s goth pop to her scrappy rock melange.

O'Brien is a prolific creator, having released an album every year since 2020. However, the heart of Gold Control lies in Cookie Duster's 2012 record When Flying Was Easy; "Space…follow you back home to where you belong," she sings alongside Brendan Canning on "Space Will Follow." This sentiment seems like a guiding light for O'Brien's entire body of work, her most recent album being no exception.

In contrast with 2022's Tracer, which caught the sound of being in constant, exerting motion, Gold Control finds O'Brien gliding. "Fade and Fader" and "Pour Your Heart" are both slow and contemplative, and when the music does speed up with "Just Shadows," there's a strong undercurrent of bass and distortion, as if a storm is brewing. The refrain "Just shadows, just shadows…" conjures images of, well, chasing one's shadow, running around in circles. "Hold My Head Up Higher," featuring longtime collaborator Ian Blurton, is laced with a haunting chorus of stacked vocals.

While remorse and regret permeate the record's deeper layers, the overall tone of Gold Control is a shimmery hopefulness. O'Brien's comfort and skill in contrasts, here and throughout her work, leads to points of reconciliation — Maybe home is floating in outer space, and maybe, for now, that's okay.

O'Brien's work can be tough to pin down, travels in different directions at different speeds, one common thread remains — if there's a limit or a boundary, she'll be right on the edge of it. 


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