Rilo Kiley : Under the Blacklight

<img src="" alt=" " />With all of the luxuries afforded them for their first album on a major, Rilo Kiley's<i> Under the Blacklight </i>reveals a new turbo-charged, super-produced sound....
5.9 Warner Bros.

Rilo Kiley : Under the BlacklightWith all of the luxuries afforded them for their first album on a major, Rilo Kiley’s Under the Blacklight reveals a new turbo-charged, super-produced sound.  All of the sudden, Rilo Kiley wears the many masks of pop music, using Jenny Lewis’ vocals to push the momentum of their big studio sound through a variety of Top 40-style tunes.

Under the Blacklight has an attention-seeking aura, starting from the top, and diving in and out of national radio-sized beats and sugary serenades.  The opening track, “Silver Lining” features Lewis’ vocals like they were recorded on a stoop, while a finger-snapping beat and neon melody coast effortlessly.  “Close Call” has a modern Nashville sound:  punctuated beats, a soaring chorus, and snappy vocals.  “The Moneymaker” is more cynical than the others, with a funk-pop beat and Lewis’ dire strain, but then the disco ball spinning “Breakin’ Up” is truly a highlight of the album.

The band covers pretty much every modern pop sound out there on Under the Blacklight.  They channel Gloria Estefan & The Miami Sound Machine on “Dejalo”.  “15” features a flickering riff and fanfare, giving Lewis the opportunity for some soulful twang.  “Smoke Detector” is a 60’s girl-pop throwback.  And though Lewis dominates most of the album, Blake Sennett’s vocals show up on “Dreamworld”, which wouldn’t be tough to mistake a Fleetwood Mac studio reunion.

Under the Blacklight is essentially a pop anthology, cruising through a wide array of the radio-friendly sounds of the last fifty years.  The band’s skilled enough, and Lewis’ vocals are versatile enough to pull it off, but it lacks any true hits and has a librarian quality.  They’ve got the chops, but deep down inside, aren’t a pop machine capable of pulling off the variety with definitive depth.

MP3 Stream: “Breakin’ Up”

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