With the success of her previous solo album, her group work in Rilo Kiley and the success of the songs she recorded with The Postal Service, Jenny Lewis is often looked to as the queen of indie rock. She is also hailed as a siren of the stage and on her new solo album Acid Tongue, Lewis attempted to capture the rawness of her stage show and make her second studio album sound like a live one.
While counting out a “one, two” on songs like “Godspeed” gives the idea that this is supposed to be live, many of the songs fail to capture the subtleties that are often found in the femme fatale’s live show. Stale string arrangements like those found on “Bad Man’s World” did little to improve this failed effect. The only song where I truly felt you could close your eyes and envision a stage in front of you was “See Fernando.” With its big guitar hooks that were lacking on much of the album and the even bigger drums, “See Fernando” is one of the more memorable songs on the album.
Lewis did say this was going to be a more diverse record than her previous solo album, however, she is at her best when she isn’t overdoing the backing vocals and instruments like she does on title track “Acid Tongue,” which simply pairs her lovely voice with acoustic guitar. When harmonies are used, they are more tasteful than those found on other songs. They compliment instead of burying her voice.
With stale arrangements, a tendency for Lewis to grasp at notes just barely out of her range and a lack of hooks, this album leans toward rather forgettable. There are a few songs that come close to Lewis’ usual grandeur like title track “Acid Tongue,” which does capture her usual sultriness, but the other tracks get to be so repetitious and ho hum, they run the risk of overshadowing the few great ones.
Jenny Lewis’ Acid Tongue will be released by Warner Brother Records on Sept. 23, 2008.
01. Black Sand
02. Pretty Bird
03. The Next Messiah
04. Bad Man’s World
05. Acid Tongue
06. See Fernando
09. Trying My Best to Love You
10. Jack Killed Mom
11. Sing a Song for Them
Written by: Bethany