Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat (CD Review)

After three albums fronting the critically acclaimed Rilo Kiley, Jenny Lewis
temporarily goes it alone for her debut solo record, which combines country
and soul to fine effect. Lewis has been able to call upon numerous talented
collaborators; not just guitar virtuoso M Ward who oversees production, but
also Ben Gibbard (The Postal Service), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and the
Watson Twins who provide backing vocals throughout. ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ starts
with two of the finest tracks, ‘Big Guns’ and ‘Rise Up With Fists’; the
former a country-tinged lament, whilst the latter has more of a blues
influence, and demonstrates how the Watson Twins’ vocals complement Lewis’s
on the simple chorus “There but for the grace of God go I”. The album
continues in the same atmospheric and intimate vein, incorporating the
wistful ‘Happy’ and the fragile ‘Melt Your Heart’.

Buy ‘Rabit Fur Coat’ from Amazon UK

Then the whole mood is
switched by the cover of the Travelling Wilbury’s ‘Handle With Care’, which
features Lewis as George Harrison, Ben Gibbard as Roy Orbison, M Ward as Tom
Petty, and Conor Oberst as Jeff Lynne. It’s a light-hearted and enjoyable
diversion from the sparseness of the rest of the record, and compares
favourably with the Wilbury’s original. Yet, more generally. the album
focuses on Lewis’s strengths; her sensual voice and her more than capable
song writing; the likes of ‘Born Secular’ and ‘You Are What You Love’
reinforce and echo what we learned from the first half of the album. Whether
this solo project is just a one-off or not, Lewis clearly has the potential
to strike out on her own. Successfully combining her traditional Americana
sound with something more spiritual and soulful, ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ is one of
the first interesting records of the year. KW
Release date: 23 Jan (Rough Trade)

From CMU

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