The announcement of a new Jenny Lewis album, albeit as one half of Jenny & Johnny (Johnny being Lewis’ long time boyfriend Johnathan Rice), will be met with mixed emotions by the diehard and insanely dedicated Rilo Kiley fans (check out the Rilo Kiley fan forum and you will see some utter contempt for Mr Rice from the male fans – I prefer to seethe quietly about what a lucky git he is).
The fact that Lewis has collaborated with Rilo Kiley colleague Pierre De Reeder will give hope that relations amongst Silver Lake’s finest have not completely disintegrated. However, the new album being entitled I’m Having Fun Now may suggest the last Rilo Kiley project Under the Blacklight was somewhat laboured. Indeed this is the first time Lewis has completed non-Rilo Kiley projects back to back (Rabbit Fur Coat and Acid Tongue were separated by Under the Blacklight).
Whilst a long time darling of the critics, commerical success has so far largely eluded Lewis, either with her solo projects or the band. Acid Tongue and Under the Blacklight both failed to reach the Billboard Top 20. Rice has himself enjoyed some success with his involvement in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. Personally for me Lewis can’t put a foot wrong and unlike a lot of Rilo Kiley fans I loved the more commercial Fleetwood Mac-influenced Under the Blacklight album. I have not, however, forgiven the band for cancelling their gig at the Cambridge Junction at the time without any explanation and so I never got to hear the album played live.
Jenny & Johnny are presently giving away an album taster at the moment via their new website www.jennyandjohnnymusic.com. Scissor Runner indicates that a bit more of the Californian sunshine has been allowed through the studio windows and the boy/girl harmonies are to die for. The artwork floating around the web is also incredibly promising and would make a perfect front cover for Don Delillo’s Americana.
Words: Lee Bennett