Under The Blacklight, the new CD by Rilo Kiley is a late summer release that is filled with sunny, fun-filled, danceable riffs and vocals that lends itself to summer fun. Even though summer is almost over, I guess August is as good of a time as any to rollerblade down Venice Beach with your iPod tuned to the latest catchy kitsch.

The album is sharply produced by seasoned West Coast Rap producer Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre and Eminem) and all the tracks are finely polished to a bright shine. Jenny Lewis’ voice is sweet and inviting as well as Blake Sennett’s retro 70 and 80’s pop riffs – they contrast well with the darkness of the lyrics, taking on subjects such as underage sex, statutory rape and pornography.

The album should generate quite a few new listeners to the hip quartet from LA but this CD is very uncharacteristic from a band who’s sound was more on the lines of indie folk rock than the much more commercially viable sound present on Under The Blacklight. Rilo Kiley has gotten some flak from some die-hard fans about this, but the writing was on the wall when they signed with Warner Bros. Their more mainstream songs were already being filtered into hit TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, and Weeds, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the band would lean this way.

Be it the 70’s gospel/R&B influenced “Silver Lining”, the country folk pop song “Angels Hung Around” or the 80’ dance floor rock pop of “Smoke detector”, Rilo Kiley are consistently mixing up styles on this record, yet somehow they manage to maintain a distinct sound that’s fresh and new. Even though the lyrics might be a tad dark, the band’s popier retro sound is sure to brighten up anyone’s day.

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