Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Rilo Kiley, Under the Blacklight

“Under the Blacklight” is Rilo Kiley’s major label debut after three albums on a variety of small and boutique indie labels.  The band was formed and is nominally led by former child actors Jenny rilo kileyLewis and Blake Sennet.  I say nominally because “Under the Blacklight” appears to mark a shift in emphasis away from the band as a unit toward a vehicle for Lewis who had a successful solo release with the album “Rabbit Fur Coat” in 2006. 

Rilo Kiley’s songs generally fall in the alt country, indie rock and basic pop genres.  On “Under the Blacklight” there are studio effects scatterd here and there but in general these are straightforward genre-specific songs.  The album seems to have a loose theme of the sleazy LA life of cheap sex and drugs but it’s not clear if it’s supposed to be some kind of concept album (if it is, it isn’t a very good one) or if this is just how these guys are used to spending their time.  Lewis wrote or cowrote all of the tunes except “Dreamworld” which is cowritten by Sennet and is the only song on which he sings lead.  Lewis is a competant singer with a pleasant voice but not much more.  On some songs, such as the title track, she mimics Aimee Mann’s vocal style and arrangements so closely that Mann might want to consider copyright infringement.  As befits major label backing, the album is competantly, although blandly, produced.

Musically, “Under the Blacklight” strikes me as a fairly unimaginative collection of song writing and arranging exercises that are targeted at the alt rock and indie pop marketing categories.  Listeners who have the hots for Lewis may get a thrill from listening to her sing about getting laid.  Musically and lyrically this has all been done many, many times before and nothing on the album stands out enough to get excited about.  It’s not bad, it’s just ordinary.


09/24/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews | , ,

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