The Elected - Sun, Sun, Sun (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Elected

Sun, Sun, Sun (2006)

Sub Pop

The members of Rilo Kiley have quite the affinity for Americana, and the first month of 2006 is qualifying that wholeheartedly. While RK itself has written three albums of alt-country-infused indie rock, members themselves have participated in side projects that concentrate even moreso on the former of these: vocalist/keyboardist Jenny Lewis with her Americana tributing solo effort (and artist credits hopefully parodying Gwen Stefani and her Harajuku Girls, not flashing the beginnings of a new, strange trend), and vocalist/guitarist Blake Sennett and drummer Jason Bosel (as well as ex-Ozma bassist Daniel Brummel) with the appropriately titled Sun, Sun, Sun, the second full-length from his band the Elected and followup to 2004's Me First. Although, it should be noted that Lewis even does guest vocals on a few tracks.

Sun, Sun, Sun is, well, sunny. Even with Sennett's hushed, gentle inflection continuing to recall Elliott Smith (at one point even biting Smith's bouncy repetition style in the acoustic title track), the album is nearly always upbeat and overall happy, even while refectling on past loves ("It Was Love"). In fact, it borders on cheesy in places; opener and intro "Clouds Parting (8:14 A.M.)" sounds like a cross between The Sound of Music soundtrack and Disney composing background music for an old Western movie. However, the consistently positive mood helps amplify the enjoyable, catchy songs twofold, proving them to be the record's standouts ("Would You Come With Me," "The Bank and Trust," the previously mentioned "Sun, Sun, Sun").

Oh yes, the fervent country overtones. They're most certainly there; `50s prom pop even finds its way into "Did Me Good," but the guitar twang itself is prominent and steady. Sometimes a soft horn section (especially bluesy in the early goings of the 7-minute "Biggest Star") and light piano will find its way into the mix, but it's sparse, and more for careful touches of the mood than layering. "Old Times" certainly carries along a steady horsetrot pace, while "Desiree" is a short, barebones ballad, Sennett on his own and ushering in the song with harmonica, hinting at the wealth of slow-paced tracks that make up the ending section of the album.

Sun, Sun, Sun is long and bright-eyed with definitive standout moments shining. It's certainly helping members of Rilo Kiley exercise the country demons lying inside, even while the Elected's key member (Sennett) draws heavily from a, though heralded, painfully melancholic figure (Smith).

Oh, and Sennett even finds a few places to drop F-bombs, but really, swearing never sounded more casual and accepting than in this type of setting.

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