Jenny Owen Youngs
The innocence in Youngs's voice only adds to her songs' honesty, from her breathy, Ani DiFranco-style confession of "Everyone I try to love won't hear of it" ("Drinking Song") to her dreamy musings on relationships on "Keys Out Lights On," which maintains its focus with a floating flugelhorn and subtle tabla beats. On "Voice on Tape," Youngs uses what should be just a cheesy gimmick -- a duet with an answering machine message -- as a cathartic post-breakup farewell.
Young's wounded-love theme might get a bit predictable after a while, but she varies her arrangements enough to keep from sounding monotonous: strings and Rhodes permeate the album, and she plays a rolling banjo on "P.S." But even without that instrumental help, Youngs's ability to sound lighthearted even when reflecting on her most painful moments is enough to keep "Hatches" breezy and enchanting.
-- Catherine P. Lewis