Under the Blacklight

Studio Album by released in 2007

Under the Blacklight review

Jenny Lewis stays with Rilo Kiley

The story of American indie rock band Rilo Kiley looks very typical and doesn't really differ from the story of any other band that has found recognition in the new century. The musicians had to overcome all the necessary obstacles on their way to fame, which actually didn't take long to appear and fell upon the band in 2004 after the release of their third album More Adventurous. Both fans and rock scene celebrities like Elvis Costello praised the album and numerous critics voted the album into annual "best of" lists. In 2005 the band became an opening act for Bright Eyes and Coldplay and their singles have gradually leaked in TV shows and movie industry. In a word, the future career looked cloudless and promising and the band's singer Jenny Lewis didn't fail to avail herself of the opportunity and released her solo album Rabbit Fur Coat in 2006. The album turned out to be so good that Lewis could easily abandon her home band and get down to her own career. The situation itself is a little bit premature for Rilo Kiley but still pretty dangerous – how many times we could witness how a charismatic artist becomes super popular and the band forever remains in the shadow. However, Rilo Kiley is not that case. Three years after the release of More Adventurous they are coming back with their fourth ever since and first major label album Under The Black Light.

The band's old new style

As a rule major label debut is accompanied by alteration of the band's sound. Once dirty guitars and trash can drums turn into polished sound and trendy production and the band itself start playing a softer and friendlier material. And Rilo Kiley didn't escape this lot too but any accusations in selling out are simply inappropriate in this case. Under The Blacklight was a sort of challenge and the band successfully coped with it. The musicians said goodbye to their garage past and accepted new rules of the game with dignity. It is hard to say that the album really differs from their former works stylistically, Rilo Kiley are still playing indie pop rock but nevertheless the band sounds otherwise. The very first thing that looks striking is an evident flavor of old-school pop rock. However, a more detailed analysis reveals that it is not a metamorphosis or something - everything looks far trivial, in reality Rilo Kiley were always taking their inspiration in 70's, they have simply washed the garage dust off their face, but the features remained the same.

The album has no bad songs

The album is basically comprised of light three-minutes songs many of which could be included in the soundtrack to any unpretentious Hollywood film. In particular a tuneful, mid tempo song called Close Call fits this role pretty successfully. But Rilo Kiley are still trying to play divers material. You can easily distinguish influences of different genres and artists here. Breakin' Up reminds pop rock of 80's, Dejalo features some elements of disco funk, Silver Lining associates with George Harrison and Dreamworld is a reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. But the band doesn't lose its face, instead, the album sounds pretty coherent and the songs follow each other smoothly and seamlessly. Overall, the album possesses a familiar relaxing, guitar driven, romantic, indie pop atmosphere – the band's sound became deeper but their songs still have those characteristic indie rock particles. The material sounds very easy and attractive. There are no songs that would sound frankly bad here, Under The Blacklight concerns to that type of albums where almost every song could take a position of a leading single. The record will suite to all those who loves pop rock in any of its incarnations, fans of Rilo Kiley's earlier records won't be disappointed too and it may be very helpful for casual listeners to get acquainted with this group.