Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins Rabbit Fur Coat

[Team Love; 2006]

Styles: twang-a-lang-a-lang alt-country with substance and a jigger of doo-wop
Others: Neko Case, The Stands, Liz Janes, Heikki, Rilo Kiley

When it comes to reviewing music, this gumshoer tends to run on emotion. Much like a football team that plays up or down to its opponent's level, I often find myself locked into one of two extremes: either inspired and plunking down on my keypad like a 'VOID' stamp at the local DMV, or at a loss, completely detached from the redundant notes, chords, rhythms, and caterwauling swirling around me like so much melted Laffy Taffy.

Finding myself engulfed by the latter, lesser persuasion on this particular day, I need a booster shot to kick me into high gear. Something with pep, finesse, chutzpah, shebang!!!, rizzle-razzle... that ever-elusive worth we all troll for in Indieland. A pretend-a-country solo record from the Team Love label wouldn't seem to fit the bill, seeing that Oberst has been compared to Bob Dylan too many times for thine eyes to bear, but there it is... ZAP, and I'm somewhat satiated by Jenny Lewis' Rabbit Fur Coat, on which she is flanked by The Watson Twins.

For the first time in a long time, lyrics are what's pinching my Purd-o-meter. Lil' Miss Lewis has quite the stranglehold on sly wit and measured storytelling -- two things that normally leave me reaching for the closest barfbag -- and her nekked arrangements allot her all the space she needs to wax her proverbial rough patches.

Over the majestic organ flourishes of "You Are What You Love," Lewis lifts one of Nicky Cage's classic lines from Adaptation and laces together an intriguing sound-off directed at a relationship that's so tangled "Not a thousand beers will keep us from feeling so alone." Still, Lewis admits she's "In love with tricks" (don't I know the feeling!), so far be it from her to lay blame. "Handle With Care" features a cuddly Ben Gibbard guest spot and some less acceptable lyrics, while the title track pulls the buggy back into the garage for an introspective ballad about Lewis' mother and a garment that brings her LOADS O' TROUBLE. Tune in yerself to find out if hijinx ensue...

Yeah, Jenny and her Watsons won me over to their furry flock, no doubt. For a fun, not-fun, often funny, fundamentally sound take on country, Rabbit Fur Coat will erase Rilo Kiley from your memory, which is a good thing, if you're keeping score. Lord knows I am, in every walk of life [OOOOH! Grant: one; jesus: ... nnnnnnone!!!]

1. Run Devil Run
2. Big Guns, The
3. Rise Up With Fists!!!
4. Happy
5. Charging Sky, The
6. Melt Your Heart
7. You Are What You Love
8. Rabbit Fur Coat
9. Handle With Care
10. Born Secular
11. It Wasn't Me
12. Happy (Reprise)

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