JENNY OWEN YOUNGS
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There’s nothing as vividly caustic as “Fuck Was I,” Youngs’ 2007 breakthrough song, on her second album of smart singer-songwriter pop. But there’s plenty of self-reflection (the first tune, a barely minute-long acoustic ditty, is called “First Person”) and big, fat arrangements. Unlike Youngs’ sparse debut, Batten the Hatches, Transmitter Failure piles on strings, horns, electronic drums, and glockenspiel for a more immediately hooky record. Full-bodied songs like “What Beats Within” and “Last Person” boost Youngs’ often fragile voice, while she spills her equally fragile heart all over the studio floor.