Haley Fohr joins forces with Bitchin Bajas on Jacqueline, her second album as alter-ego Jackie Lynn | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Haley Fohr joins forces with Bitchin Bajas on Jacqueline, her second album as alter-ego Jackie Lynn

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A few years ago, Haley Fohr, who makes experimental rock music under the name Circuit des Yeux, introduced a new project where she inhabited a drifter-turned-drug-pusher alter ego named Jackie Lynn. Her 2016 album under that name mixed dejected pop and stripped-down electronics with off-kilter alt-country; its second half in particular had a mysterious, dangerous vibe, and listening to it felt like picking up a hitchhiker on a deserted highway not knowing whether they were harmless or a serial killer. So when I heard that Fohr was releasing a second Jackie Lynn album, I imagined that her musical antiheroine’s latest adventures would have taken her further down the rabbit hole of darkness. Instead, the record feels brighter than its predecessor, even a little glamorous—an about-face that’s even implied in the more genteel spelling of her name, Jacqueline. Much of this has to do with the fact that Fohr has expanded the project into a full band with help from Bitchin Bajas members Cooper Crain, Rob Frye, and Dan Quinlivan. Opening track “Casino Queen” immediately plucks the Jackie Lynn of yesterday from her smoky backroom poker games and drops her among the red-velvet ropes and twinkling lights of Vegas, while other songs lack any tinge of society’s underbelly: the orchestral “Dream St.” feels more like floating down a river than flirting with trouble, and the hook-laden “Shugar Water” is practically uplifting. Fohr has described Jackie Lynn as a long-haul truck driver in this chapter of her story, and each song is a snapshot of a day in her life. So while the darkness may return down the line, this independence and freedom suit her well.   v

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