Jo Schornikow’s new album ALTAR (2022) is the perfect counterweight to 2019’s Secret Weapon. While that album was bare and scrappy bedroom folk, this new album is a joyful announcement of synthy indie-pop.
From Melbourne, Australia, Jo’s first job at 17 was as a church organist, a job she’s picked up again now in Nashville, where she lives with her husband Matthew Houck of Phosphorescent and their two children. She’s played keyboard in that band for over 8 years now, touring heavily all over the world as a full band, and ducking into BBC to record a duo session on their grand piano.
Rolling Stone called her last album “excellent,” Pitchfork calls her piano playing “sensitive” and “impressionistic,” and Gorilla vs. Bear describes her songwriting as “gorgeous and smouldering.” But the songs on ALTAR take all of that a step further. There are still those moments of quiet beauty, but they are exploded through with joy. There are windows-down, anthemic pop moments on “Visions” and “Lose Yr Love.”
Jo Schornikow is a songwriter flexing her craft and sharing songs that have a special charm that allow them to somehow feel honest, open, intimate, and funny all at the same time.