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The Execution of all things Rilo Kiley!,
This review is from: Under The Blacklight (Audio CD)
It's tempting to say that Rilo Kiley's first release on a major label is a major disappointment especially after numerous glowing reviews this has received in music magazines and newspapers. The contrast between this and their previous releases is somewhat startling it has to be said; in place of their usual somewhat idiosyncratic approach they've adopted a polished sound with songs that have repeated phrases and choruses. More conventional than adventurous you could say. In the process some of the charm that made them appealing has been lost though Jenny Lewis's sweet vocals make `Under the Blacklight' more bearable to listen to.
Only about half the songs hit the mark and only two, `Breakin' Up' and `The Angels Hung Around', have hints of the old Rilo Kiley sound. The other notable songs, `Silver Lining', `Close Call' and the title track, `Under the Blacklight' are marred by a glossy production which has seemingly been influenced by mid 70's Fleetwood Mac (for God's sake why?!). This is all too apparent on the appalling Blake Sennet contribution `Dreamworld' - a nightmare! The other songs are mostly forgettable. `15' is a clunker about under age sex, `Smoke Detector' is sub-1978 Blondie and the faux funk of `The Moneymaker' just irritates. `Dejalo' is an unconvincing latin style pastiche and `Give a Little Love' is so lightweight and trite it's hardly worth commenting on.
There's nothing on here that comes even close to `Portions For Foxes' off `More Adventurous' - which showed they could be capable of making superb pop music. `Under the Blacklight' is the sound of band trying too hard to sound like a pop band. The `retro' feel does it no favours either - a hard trick to pull off convincingly. Wilco did it brilliantly with this year's sublime, `Sky Blue Sky' (check that out) but I feel Rilo Kiley should stick to doing what they do best - being themselves