Rilo Kiley

Jenny Lewis, honey-voiced Rilo Kiley lead singer and the closest thing indie rock has to a Maxim cover girl, never claimed to be innocent. She dropped F-bombs all over the L.A. quartet's 2002 LP The Execution of All Things and warned potential suitors "Baby, I'm bad news" on "Portions for Foxes," the jewel of 2004 Warner Bros. debut More Adventurous. Now she's outdone herself on Under the Blacklight. As fans of her fragile, dysfunctional lyrics know well, usually Lewis's prettiest songs are also her skeeviest: This time, funeral diary "The Angels Hung Around" is shimmering country-soul left over from 2006 solo outing Rabbit Fur Coat, while the seductive, almost Cure-like "Close Call" contains the savory couplet "Funny thing about money for sex, you might get rich but you die by it." Blacklight is sexy (vampy rocker "Moneymaker") and creepy (underage sex fable/Stax homage "15") in almost equal measure, energized by the other three Rilos' skillful, if unlikely, appropriation of trash disco ("Breakin' Up"), porn sound tracks ("Dejalo") and '70s soft-rock ("Dreamworld"). Power-pop tail-wagger "Smoke Detector" thankfully injects a little humor amid all the sleaze, but where most bands going to seed sound pathetic, Rilo Kiley just sounds invigorated.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray