widg‧et /ˈwɪdʒɪt/ [wij-it] -noun: Pointless ramblings from the New Forest. Obviously complete & utter Rubbish. Why must I contibute to all this endless talk about me? My self-indulgent knees, spilling themselves all over the internet. Obviously i am Jon and his hair, I AM HIM!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

5-4-3-2-1 (one)

Dun da da daa, da da da da da, dun da da daaaa!

Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Rabbit Fur Coat

At long last, here is my tip-top, most favouritest record of the year, and it's not just because it's got twins in it.

Jenny Lewis began her working life as a child actor, starting off in a Jelly advert and graduating to become Becky's friend in Roseanne (the original puffy Becky, not the Scrubs one). This kind of CV would not usually bode well for musical greatness, but, with her band Rilo Kiley, she has managed to produce a mighty fine body of work so far. The band was generating a fair bit of a much deserved buzz at the beginning of last year with their 'More Adventurous' album, but this seems to have passed most people by. A dirty shame, as I feel that this surpasses it by a mile. Eschewing the rockier side of some of her earlier songs, this embraces 1970s twangy country music head on.

From the first few bars of the a cappella first track 'Run Devil Run' the mood is set, with the lush vocal harmonies of the artists currently known as The Watson Twins and buckets of heartfelt emotion. While the music has one foot firmly in the past, the lyrics are thoroughly modern, witty, tragic and funny. The "Big Single" 'Rise Up With Fists' includes concerns about pollution, "It's like trying to clean the ocean, what do you think, you can drain it? It was poisoned and dry long before you came." and Californian life, "You can wake up younger under the knife, and you can wake up sounder if you get analysed." It just proves that it is possible for Los Angeles to produce something intelligent and worthwhile, however rare that may be.

Old chums Bright Eyes, Johnathan Rice and The Postal Service/Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard show up for a sing-along on an appropriate cover of the Traveling Wilburys song 'Handle With Care', echoing the gang's all here feeling of the original supergroup (comprising George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty & Bob Dylan). Then comes the slow-burning masterpiece, 'Born Secular', dealing with the traditional country themes of God and loss. The end comes all too soon, a sad & lonely voice unconvincingly repeating the refrain "So happy, I'm so happy" with only a woodblock for company.

This is a vintage and gorgeous dusty trail of an album. No home or heart should be without one.


Blogger AlphIANo said...

Ooh, didn't see that one coming. I haven't listened to it much but really liked what I've heard. Bravo, sir!

You forgot to mention that Jenny Lewis was in The Wizard with Fred Savage when she was 10. Surely that set up the psychosis for her troubled lyric-brain?

Good game, O'Fun, good game xxx

10:15 pm


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