You can almost picture Jenny Lewis, as she geared up for the Under The Blacklight sessions in the wake of a solo tour that did more to raise her profile as a respected musician than almost a decade of hitting the road with Rilo Kiley, racking her brain to figure out how to save her best material for herself.
At least that's the impression you get from this schizoid and lacklustre disc. It's not just that Rilo Kiley have largely abandoned the gingham country pop and smoky velvet torch songs that are the focus of Lewis's solo oeuvre, though the awkward Bee Gees disco tunes and second-rate 80s Danceteria tracks they try out here are a weak replacement.
What makes Under The Blacklight a true disappointment is the shoddy songcraft. Lewis and Rilo pal Blake Sennett are fine writers, able to concoct layered, twisted narratives (see Portions For Foxes, off 04's More Adventurous) that add heft to even their most sunshiny tracks. All that's left here are dregs - repetitive anti-literate sentiments that are supposed to be about working girls and porn stars, and sickly love songs that don't rise above clichés.