Jenny Lewis returns to her day job, and the results are mighty fine.
Chris Jones 2007-08-17
Nearly two years on from the universally–acclaimed Watson Twins collaboration, Rabbit Fur Coat, Jenny Lewis returns to her day job with LA band Rilo Kiley. Having firmly located the former indie-rockers in the mainstream with their last effort, More Adventurous, Under The Blacklight goes one step further in its bittersweetly effortless pop.
Mainly written by the talented Ms Lewis (with occasional help from guitarist, Blake Sennet) Under…is a mixture of sun-drenched innocent West Coast rock and smatterings of crystalline electro-pop, but leavened with a lyrical tartness that’s definitely adult in content or, at least, implication. Assuming some kind of autobiographical content, from this evidence Lewis has been through some trying times but has turned every one into positive lyrical gold. If "Under The Blacklight" details a relationship founded on alcoholism and abuse there’s always the couplet from "Silver Lining" about how she '…never felt so wicked as when I willed our love to die'. Going on to sing: 'Hooray, hooray I was your silver lining. Hooray, hooray but now I’m gone'. "Breakin’ Up" goes even further in its celebration of freedom, and by the time you get to "Smoke Detector" she’s positively revelling in her new found availability. Like I said. It’s for adults.
Surely no one now regards owning up to liking Tusk-period Fleetwood Mac as a guilty pleasure, but it’s still a bit of a shock to hear the echoes of Nicks and Buckingham in a lot of this album. There’s nary a hint of indie rockdom in this band anymore, and frankly that’s all a good thing. Delivered with a purity of voice that always seduces, hopefully Lewis and Rilo Kiley will now seize the day and steer us all into a world where such pop perfection is valued again.