December 31, 2008

Jenny Lewis Serves Up '08 Album of the Year

Whether fronting Rilo Kiley or stepping out on her own, Jenny Lewis seemsat least on the surface—wholesome and enchanting, yet her maiden, girlish charm is but the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. On her sophomore solo effort, Acid Tongue, the indie siren sweetens twisted tales of kink and squalor, serving up one intoxicating tonic and, to this writer's taste, the album of the year.

Having her way with a kaleidoscope of rich melodies, Lewis hardwires these songs with lucid imagery—lyrics conjuring the sinful and soulful, the sacred and profane—further distinguishing herself as an eclectic and versatile songwriter.

From the misty-eyed vibe that pierces through “Black Sand” and “Godspeed” to the rabble-rousing thrust of “See Fernando” and “Carpetbaggers” (spiked with a shot of Elvis Costello), from the salacious bent of “Jack Killed Mom” to the redemption bestowed within the title track, Acid Tongue is sated with mischievous bite. Jenny Lewis, by virtue of her talent and magnetism, just makes it easier to swallow.