Los Angeles-based Rilo Kiley, fronted by vocalist and keyboardist Jenny Lewis and vocalist and guitarist Blake Sennet, play country-pop music for the
generation of the economic boom on
Take Offs and Landings (Barsuk, 1999), notably in
Pictures of Success.
The tone turned more nervous and fragile on
The Execution of All Things (Saddle Creek, 2002), their artistic peak,
The Execution of All Things,
and in one of Lewis' best songs,
The Good That Won't Come Out, the archetype of her
More Adventurous (Brute, 2004) boasts a much more professional sound
and veers decisevely towards the pop ballad (Portions For Foxes) with
renewed mass appeal (It's a Hit, which sounds like the Byrds covering Dylan,
Does He Love You? in the vein of the ye-ye girls of the Sixties).
Blake Sennet launched a new career under the monicker
Rilo Kiley's Under The Blacklight (Warner, 2007) further streamlined
their concept of mellow living-room muzak that draws from all sorts of genres
(country, disco, folk-rock, soul, pop, hard-rock,...). Songs such as
and The Moneymaker coined the easy-listening
version of alt-rock, closer to Fleetwood Mac and Steely Dan than to
It is mostly a Jenny Lewis show, arranged to suit the taste of the middle class.
Rilo Kiley's vocalist Jenny Lewis debuted solo with
Rabbit Fur Coat (Team Love, 2006), featuring a star-studded cast,
sounding at times like a looser version of Neko Case
(the catchy and enchanted You Are What You Love, with echoes of the ye-ye girls of the Sixties,
the square dance The Big Guns,
the sprightly folk-rock singalong The Charging Sky)
and otherwise indulging in confessions
(the whispered lament Melt Your Heart,
the old-fashioned country elegy Rise Up with Fists,
and especially the austere folk tale Rabbit Fur Coat,
worthy of the folk revival of the Sixties,
and the waltzing torch-ballad Born Secular, her best vocal performance).
Lewis followed it up with
Acid Tongue (Warner Bros, 2008), that contained more morbid confessions
about her turbulent lifestyle in a melodic and mildly psychedelic rock style,
from the lament Pretty Bird to the
gospel-ish Trying My Best to Love You via the tender and martial
Godspeed and See Fernando.
Lewis continued to evolve on
The Voyager (Warner, 2014), mostly produced by Ryan Adams,
that excels at the vibrant, upbeat, country-rock of Head Underwater
and especially at the
slow, martial, country-rock of Just One of the Guys.
The album evokes latter-day Fleetwood Mac
(She's Not Me)
and post-psychedelic Byrds
In between she also collaborated with Jonathan Rice on
Jenny and Johnny's mediocre I'm Having Fun Now (2010),
produced by Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis (Just Like Zeus and
Jenny Lewis' fourth solo album On the Line (2019) is not much of a surprise:
she plays it safe with the catchy Wasted Youth (influnced by Carole King) and Dogwood,
the radio-friendly country-rock Red Bull and Hennessy,
and especially the Sixties-tinged girl-group imitation Rabbit Hole.
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