Jen Trynin isn’t just having a little phallic fun with the title of Gun Shy Trigger Happy. She’s putting a cap on an album’s worth of canny mixed emotions about the opposite sex — wondering out loud why longing and seduction always seem more satisfying than consummation and security, casting herself not just as victim but perp, a romantic who’s as fine a commitment-phobe as any man she’s met. Fortunately, Trynin manages to turn these tentative romantic ambiguities into great, forcefully argued rock & roll. Gun Shy’s clinkerless 13 tracks may be the year’s best guitar-bass-drums-vox pop.
At her crankiest, this 33-year-old, guitar-slinging Bostonian recalls Chrissie Hynde’s righteous rock sneer, but she just as easily slips into beautifully breathy passages that suggest Dusty in Memphis on steroids. Two years ago, her major-label bow had the unfortunate distinction of coming out almost simultaneously with label mate Alanis Morissette’s. But if at first you don’t explode, Trynin, Trynin again. Fans of smart, feisty, tender hooks can only hope a follow-up that waxes so expert on the fleeting nature of attraction doesn’t get lost in the fleet itself. A