Sunday, September 02, 2007

Rilo Kiley - Under The Blacklight

Rilo Kiley, "Silver Lining" (YSI link)

Rilo Kiley, "Breakin' Up" (YSI link)

Here's one for all of you doing a little Interneting on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I kinda want to sneak this one through, as it kinda hurts to have to give a less than stellar review of a Rilo Kiley album. But, alas, their new one, Under The Blacklight, just doesn't really do it for me. Ever since my friend TA introduced to me to their music a few years ago, RK quickly became a favorite. They've gotten bigger and bigger with each subsequent step, culminating in the amazing soloish album by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins last year, Rabbit Fur Coat.

This new album sees the band moving up to the major label big leagues, their first for Warner Brothers. I'm sure a lot of people who dislike this album will look at that as the key fact; I don't buy it. I don't really feel like they needed to change their sound to appeal to a large audience. Their earlier stuff wasn't exactly some free noise act; they wrote catchy, country indie rock music. I feel like they just wanted to have some fun, try out some new sounds. Get over yourselves with this "sellout" shit, it's sad and pathetic and one of the reasons why indie rock bores the shit out people. Pop music and selling records doesn't equal boring and your desires to have your favorite bands make the same albums in perpetuity is disturbing. Indie cred + 1.50 won't get you a cup of coffee.

On first listen, the album was a total flop for me. Like, I had to look down at the iPod to make sure that this was really the new Rilo Kiley album. Repeated listens have enabled me to adjust a bit. Some of it isn't their fault, to be honest. Part of me really wanted to hear another Jenny Lewis and/or More Adventurous album and that's not fair. The most noticeable shift is to a more upbeat, shimmering sound, it sounds so clean and produced. Even when the song is more like their previous efforts, it still sounds different. The Fleetwood Mac references seem like a good starting point, that 70s classic rock sound that wasn't afraid to sound good and polished and danceable and sexy. I've chosen two of my favorites, one that hearkens back to past albums ("Silver Lining") and one that is a good example of where they are heading to today ("Breakin' Up") Both are excellent, the great lyrics taken b

So, I don't think I'd recommend this one. It's funny though, as Jenny Lewis' gorgeous voice can almost wipe out any bad thoughts about a song, even singing a repetitive single line of refrain. Almost. I do hope that the band continues to play around with the sound, it's nice to hear a band do different things and I feel like this poppier sound could really work for them. Grab a copy of the CD here, I'd love to hear what other people are feeling about this one. We're gonna spend this week ahead looking at the ladies and some great albums that have come out from women and women-fronted bands the past few months.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ all of your comments. While I don't think they purposely made this album to appeal to a larger audience, it definitely sounds like it could attract different fans. Like you, I couldn't believe this was an RK record on first listen, but on subsequent listens it's been growing on me; still, it's my least favorite record of theirs (including solo albums). Hopefully the RK we knew will still be alive on Jenny's solo albums. It definitely sounded like that (infused w/ a little soul, though) on Rabbit Fur Coat.