Rabbit Fur Coat NNNN
Sun, Sun, Sun NNN Rating: NNNNN
Juxtaposing the solo-ish outings by Rilo Kiley bandmates Jenny Lewis and Blake "The Elected" Sennett, you can see them as two halves of a Venn diagram, with RK landing in the middle of their overlapping influences. Lewis offers an assured collection of smoky, soul-laced alt-country, with front-porch choruses by Leigh and Chandra Watson that provide a perfect framework for her coquettish torch-singer vocals. Freed of RK's more sugary pop tendencies, Lewis's lyrics have a darker, keener edge; she gracefully eviscerates her country's foreign and domestic policy on the steel-string bounce of The Big Guns, then exorcises her own Bad Love demons on heartbreak ballad Melt Your Heart. She benefits from solid production by Saddle Creek staple Mike Mogis, who tweaks her retro sound with synths and electronic blips, but it's the stark M. Ward-produced tracks that, while more traditional, showcase the Dolly Parton potential in Lewis's voice. Sennett's Elected project, on the other hand, sticks to the sweet sunshine pop end of the RK spectrum.
Sun, Sun, Sun opens with twittering birds and twinkly effects before launching into a pretty collection of expansive soft-pop ditties about kissing girls in the backs of vans, stars and rainbows. At its best, The Elected offers moments of quirky intrigue - a brassy horn here, a hidden banjo there - reminiscent of the Long Winters' chamber-pop, but in general it's a bit too safe.