ROSS JENNINGS – A Shadow of My Future Self (2021)

ROSS JENNINGS - A Shadow of My Future Self (2021) (2021) full

As current lead vocalist and co-songwriter of successful modern progressive metal band Haken, ROSS JENNINGS needs no introduction. But he needed a new way of expression, and his solo debut album “A Shadow of My Future Self” is the vehicle.
Never one to shy away from his influences, Ross has openly disclosed his love for American AOR and mainstream ‘90s MTV’ arena rock, his passion for rock&pop such as U2, and even his affinity with the Nashville Country music scene. Ross’s influences and tastes are vast, coupled with a strong desire to have an outlet to expand his songwriting away from Prog-metal.
And into these arenas, “A Shadow of My Future Self” finds Ross on a musical journey we never heard him explore professionally before, writing very personal songs in what can only be described as a love letter to the aforementioned popular genres that were the foundation to Ross’s musical inspiration.

“A Shadow of My Future Self” unleashes his skills in a wide terrain of songwriting while also revealing his considerable command of the guitar. Supported by an impressive core band, the quality and quantity of material here-in comes as a welcome revelation.
Jennings has crafted an exceptional release which deftly toggles between classic rock, pop and even folk. His future self has clearly come out of the shadows with this confident debut.

Opener “Better Times” feels like an appropriate way to begin the journey. Accompanied primarily by his strummed acoustic guitar, Jennings’ melodic vocal lines rise and fall with a relaxed natural grace. It’s a perfect way to start but is only offered for a moment; the subsequent “Words We Can’t Unsay” propels us into a world of 80s pop rock, the antithesis to the simple acoustic opener. But it works. A keyboard-heavy arrangement – courtesy of the talented Vikram Shankar – is buoyed by a pleasing brass solo section, making for the first of many potential pop-singles from the album.

After a promising build-up from those first two tracks, “Violet” is where Jennings truly hits it out of the park. This radio-ready rocker has all the right moves, from its sax squealing opening to its staccato verses, throwing in some jazzy chords alongside the rocking guitar, punchy drumming from Simen Sandnes, to its completely fulfilling stacked vocals. An enthralling piece.
The album then reaches its most aggressive with “The Apologist”, letting bassist Nathan Navarro get busy on his scorching runs and giving Haken fans something to sink their teeth into. Jennings gets to stretch out on an atmospheric guitar solo while Sandnes pounds away underneath. Still, the chorus is smooth, gliding through as a balm to soothe the surrounding chaos.

“Rocket Science” and “Feelings” continue a run of pop-rock -infused sensibilities on the album, the former’s atmospheric opening guitar notes providing the backdrop for the lyrics “Run away, run away like the coward I am,” while the latter achieves one of the album’s catchiest choruses.
“Third Degree” and “Phoenix” are two tracks which show their roots in Ross’s songwriting on acoustic guitar – the latter track really lifts off with a repeating piano riff as drums and bass kick in, pushing the song to anthemic heights. With a brilliant lyric and a strong melody, Phoenix is the “wait til you hear this” prog track on the album that you can use to lure in people whose musical tastes may not extend to listening to Haken – by the time the Moog solo ending arrives they’ll be swept away by the song.

Again a recovery is needed after “Phoenix’s” triumphant ending. “Grounded’ is a beautiful Pink Floydian style ballad complete with a tasteful sax solo – while the anthemic “Year,” from which the album takes its title closes with an intense building conclusion, but ending with Jenkins’ voice and guitar, similar to how the album began.
A bonus cover of Dua Lippa’s “Be The One” is a fun extra, and it’s melodic pop elements combined with great playing mean it doesn’t feel out of place.

What we get on this varied album is a massively melodic and musically diverse selection of hook laden songs, with Ross’s vocals covering their full range throughout the selection of tracks and styles.
Some artists use their solo albums to go more experimental or indulgent. ”With A Shadow of my Future Self”, Ross Jennings has made an incredible record that is massively accessible and warrants a wider audience. Here’s hoping it gets the attention and kudos it deserves.
Highly Recommended


01 – Better Times
02 – Words We Can’t Unsay
03 – Violet
04 – The Apologist
05 – Rocket Science
06 – Catcher in the Rye
07 – Since That Day
08 – Young at Heart
09 – Feelings
10 – Third Degree
11 – Phoenix
12 – Grounded
13 – Year
14 – Be the One (Bonus Track)

Ross Jennings / Vocals
Simen Sandnes / Drums
Nathan Navarro / Bass
Vikram Shankar / Piano, Keyboards, Orchestral Arrangement
Jørgen Lund Karlsen / Sax



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.