Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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RILO KILEY
Under the Blacklight
Warner Bros.

Indie darlings challenge their cult on beat- and pop-filled major-label move

Because Rilo Kiley's More Adventurous was a triumph of the well-made narrative song, its markedly terser and beatier follow-up, which is also the band's true major-label debut, will be accused of sellout. Instead, it's yet more adventurous, a prosperous band's challenge to its comfortable cult. Always too cute for serious indie cred, Jenny Lewis slips four songs about dangerous sex in which she herself might be indulging -- right now, in her pretty prosperity -- into music that's defined rather than just decorated by its stylistic flirtations. Repetitive if not wordless refrains pop up everywhere, one in Spanish with a Latin beat; here a soul horn section, there a Fleetwood Mac homage, there a synth outro and almost nowhere much guitar-band alt-rock. The emotions aren't as detailed as in the past, but they're no less intense. And why is it no one else has written a breakup song that incorporates how we describe a failing cell-phone connection?

Rolling Stone, Aug. 23, 2007