Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Rabbit Fur Coat
(Rough Trade 23/01/06)
Twisting country folk in order to squeeze out every ounce of bite and grit from the category gives the body and brains behind Rilo Kiley; Jenny Lewis an irreplaceable, enchanting and earnest vibe. The haunting beginning that is conjured up by the soulfully bolshie number; 'Run Devil Run', propels Jenny's commanding and versatile vocal prowess. A touch of hearty soul is sprinkled over matters in 'Rise Up With Fists' that has an almost hymn feel, as the influence of Beth Nielsen Chapman shows this songstress indulging in some fateful philosophising.
Unerring crispness binds together this well thought out and humbling offering that reaches its plateaux in the worried 'Happy', a number that features grippingly echoing vocals that mark each poetic point made about life. The erstwhile and longing country feel is given off via 'The Charging Sky', drawing together all political viewpoints, as well as in the caustic story of 'Rabbit Fur Coat'.
There are well timed interventions from Ben Gibbard of Death Cab For Cutie fame and Mr.Bright Eyes himself; Conor Oberst in the vibrant cover of The Travelling Wilbury's song; 'Handle With Care'. They make a neat contribution to the flighty and friendly atmosphere projected in this musical parade. Jenny Lewis puts graft, thought and her colourful personality into everything that she does, thus earning a growing reputation for producing thought provoking and relaxing music.
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This lively romp is entertaining enough to amuse the audience even when it veers off the rails.