By Matt Fink
Rilo Kiley’s Blake Sennett takes an orchestrated left turn.
“It’s hard being in Rilo Kiley with Jenny, because she’s such a good vocalist and a beautiful singer that you don’t want to sing because you can’t match up,” says Blake Sennett with a laugh.
We’re discussing his bold vocal turns on Sun, Sun, Sun, the second album by The Elected, his band with Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel. “I think I used to be more scared to sing,” he says, “but [The Elected] toured a bunch and I got a little more used to singing. I didn’t have Tiger Woods watching me putt, you know?”
In distinct contrast to Lewis’ stripped-down Rabbit Fur Coat, Sennett leads his band through a lushly layered song cycle in the classic California-pop tradition, each track leaping with detail and road-weary sentiment.
“I guess we wanted to make something a little more in line with the stuff we grew up listening to, like The Band and Neil Young and early Grateful Dead and this Eagles’ record my mom used to play a lot when I was growing up,” he says, describing an album whose sonic expanse and rich analog production forgets punk ever happened.
“If that stuff is floating around in your head long enough, you should just go ahead and play with it. Once there was a crack in the dam, the dam broke, and we ended up putting lots of saxophones in and jacking up the harmonies.”