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Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight (Cover Artwork)

Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley: Under the BlacklightUnder the Blacklight (2007)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: KirbyPuckettKirbyPuckett
(others by this writer | submit your own)

It's been three years and three side projects, but Rilo Kiley have finally prepared their fourth studio album. The record is their major label debut for Warner Brothers, although More Adventurous was picked up after its release. Under the Blacklight is a minor departure from the sound they formed on.
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It's been three years and three side projects, but Rilo Kiley have finally prepared their fourth studio album. The record is their major label debut for Warner Brothers, although More Adventurous was picked up after its release. Under the Blacklight is a minor departure from the sound they formed on their previous releases. There is a healthy influence from the time front-woman Jenny Lewis spent with her Watson girls ("Under the Blacklight" and "Angels Hung Around") and time spent with the Postal Service ("Breakin' Up" and "Dejalo") as well as a resounding maturation from all aspects.

Opening track "Silver Lining" showcases the band with a more polished and crisp sound as its subtle clapping beat carries on. Lewis is calling for the spotlight as she grows as a woman and throughout this record you hear a more mature vocalist. I really enjoy the charm showcased on "Close Call," especially the quirk in Lewis' voice in the beginning, but the chorus is awkward and flat. Out the door is the shy little girl that charmed our ears and hearts; she has been replaced by a modern woman with a thunderous voice that pays debt to classic female artists (think something along the lines of a softer, cuter, accented Amy Winehouse). The aforementioned qualities are overly apparent on the sexual "Smoke Detector" and "15"'s abused innocence.

The album's first single, "The Moneymaker" thuds with toe-tapping drums during the verses and catchy "ah"s aid in rendering the song memorable. Musically, the band has grown too, the songs sounding robust with instrumentation, even when the band chooses to let the songs air out, finding their own identity -- the Blake Sennet-led "Dreamworld" is a pristine example. The guitars have a lot of charisma to them even if they're not reaching their full potential. Closing track "Give a Little Love" relies on too many of the tendencies that the previous ten utilize, a decent quality for a conclusion, but it's not quite as effective as it could be.

Under the Blacklight shies away from a lot of the movements that elevated Rilo Kiley this high, generally aiming to play it safe rather than take risks. Although the songs may not be as impressive as they once were, the band has still has the ability to write a decent album.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
that_band_changed_my_life (October 5, 2007)

This band rules and will rule harder once they take Fake Problems on tour.

Vampa (October 5, 2007)

i still get a kick out of the fact that the girl from the wizard and the kid from salute your shorts are in this band. good on them.

PervyD (October 4, 2007)

"This album is a huge letdown. I am giving up on this band. They're the next Death Cab For Cutie."

Wha? Death Cab has yet to put out a totally shitty album (if you actually like good songwriting). I didn't like Plans at first but it grew on me over time once I got over the band's sudden popularity and my own indie-pretentiousness. They write great indie-pop songs all the way back to their first CD.

Rilo Kiley, however, puts out mediocre albums with 2 or 3 gems on each one. I pretty much expected this album to come out the way it did.

Sally_Field (October 3, 2007)

Couldn't even get through the whole album on first listen. Bad sign.

glsco (October 3, 2007)

What a disappointment this album is. I've really enjoyed all of Rilo Kiley's albums up to this one, but this just doesn't have the same feel to it. None of the quirk and playfulness, except maybe on 15. Just a dull album the whole way through.

StormShadow (October 3, 2007)

This album is so much fun. That counts for a lot.

Archangel (October 2, 2007)

This album is a huge letdown. I am giving up on this band. They're the next Death Cab For Cutie.

joeg (October 2, 2007)

one of my favorite records of the year. love it.

pretentiouslikepitchfork (October 2, 2007)

this is an okay album, there are a couple of great tracks, but on songs like "dejalo" it comes across as jenny lewis pretending to be gwen stefani, which is as bad as it sounds.

elephantdwarf (October 2, 2007)

this record is nearly unlistenable. minus about two or three tracks, the rest is garbage. like cursive, i like the side projects better than the main band.

scorpiondeathlock (October 2, 2007)

score is for the fact that one of the dudes in this band played joey "the rat" on boy meets world...and i think pinski? on salute your shorts...

thus_spoke_sean (October 2, 2007)

i like this album a lot, but i feel liek it's not really a Rilo Kiley album as much as it is a Jenny Lewis album, played by Rilo Kiley.

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