Friday, October 3, 2008

"Acid Tongue" By Jenny Lewis - A Review

"Acid Tongue" by Jenny Lewis is the album I've been waiting for from the Rilo Kiley singer. Her voice shines soulfully through each song, accompanied by surprisingly spot on sonic noise, scratchy guitars, strings, and pounding bluesy bass lines.

The song opens with "Black Sand" a sweet soft song of a girl and boy on the sand. Her voice rises over a classic piano lead melody and swells into orchestral drama. It's the next song, "Pretty Bird" however, that really gets the album going for me. It melts into a dark groove with her voice floating over and around the beautiful and sad structure of sound.

It moves seamlessly into "Next Messiah" which may just be the masterpiece of "Acid Tongue." At a surprising nine minute length, it runs the gamut of guitar rock, feeling funky, rocking, and timeless. It's "actually three different songs that Johnathan Rice and myself wrote together," Lewis recalled to the Chicago Tribune. Calling the song an "ode to Barbara Streisand and the devil," she says it was "tracked completely live, with all the transitions, and it's the most exciting thing I've ever been involved with in the studio. I wish the rest of the record had been more like that." 

While the rest of the album may not feel as immediately stand out as "Next Messiah" it leaves nothing wanting. She seems to be letting go of the simple break-up song, alt-country-pop feel of Rilo Kiley and moving into uncharted territory. 

While "Bad Man's World" lurks in a sultry dark place, the title track feels sad yet redemptive and uplifting, while giving us a glimpse in to Lewis's world. "I've been down to Dixie, and dropped acid on my tongue, tripped upon the land, until enough was enough." 

"See Fernando" in an upbeat rocker. Probably one of the few songs on the album that might get your body moving, or at least your foot tapping. 

'Godspeed" really surprised me in that it almost has an R&B feel for part of the song, and Lewis sounds almost like a Nora Jones or Alicia Keys at parts. I found this a nice change of pace and a interesting study of her voice although not everyone may feel this way. The chorus slightly jarringly heads back to a more pop feel. 

"Carpetbaggers," a duet with Elvis Costello, is another toe-tapper. Costello's voice is unmistakable and adds to the songs driving fun quality.

While "Trying My Best To Love You" is a sweet gospel song, "Jack Killed Mom" sounds to me like what the White Stripes are always trying to create. A real southern rock n' roll song. "In your honor, I'm going to cut that man in half." It builds to a full on revival tent hootenanny.

The albums ends with the beautiful piano ballad "Sing a Song for Them." Inviting us to sing a song for all "the brick-a-brak finding housewives, losing their minds" "If you sing a song, sing a song for them."  

There's something inviting and comfortable about "Acid Tongue." It has a definite voice and a rich live feeling to the recording. Zooey Deschanel's soaring back-ups throughout only add to the already formidable vocal prowess. The vocals do take center stage on this album and rightfully so, Jenny Lewis has a wonderful voice and this album thoroughly shows off her range and talents. "Acid Tongue" is a welcome addition to any collection, especially fans of alt-country, blues, and rock n' roll.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

thats what i be talking about. as soon as my computer gets internet, i am gonna get that! tanks nina!