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On The Line by Jenny Lewis - Album Review




Arriving with positive notices and an all-star supporting cast that includes a former Beatle in Ringo Starr, a former Heartbreaker in Benmont Tench along with renowned players like Jim Keltner, Don Was and produced by Ryan Adams it would be easy to dismiss such a description as too good to be true.

However, sometimes it is okay to believe the hype..

The 4th solo album from Jenny Lewis is an example of the old adage that misery makes for great art, and is another entry into the canon of great break-up albums.

It is crammed with catchy melodies, expert playing and excellent, if sometimes just a little too cool for school, songwriting. Right from the very start with "Heads Gonna Roll" the sweetness of the melodies is leavened with a perfectly judged dose of underlying menace and bitterness.

Mention has to be given to the Hammond solo from Benmont Tench on this track. The tone is deliciously fat and filthy in the best possible way.

"Wasted Youth" continues with a ridiculously catchy tune tied to a Jayhawks style groove before possibly my favourite track on the whole set with "Red Bull & Hennessy".
There is so much to like about this song. To my ears it could be an extra cut from the "Tango In The Night" album from Fleetwood Mac. This is a good thing. Not only is Lewis  channelling her inner Stevie Nicks, before throwing some Kate Bush into the mix on the breakdown, the floor toms take a pounding in the Mick Fleetwood style. Add in a noisy guitar solo that leads to a stutter stop and you have something very good indeed.

The classic influences continue with "Hollywood Lawn" taking the "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"/"Helpless" chord progression and doing something wonderful with it. Great production on this track again in particular.

The album draws breath a little with "Do Si Do", "Dogwood", "Party Clown", and "Taffy" even if the break-up misery continues in full force.

"Little White Dove" takes a cliched rhyme over a stripped down groove and makes something special from a song about the death of her mother, before the album closes with a couple of corkers in the title track and "Rabbit Hole". Good to have an album close with a couple of more uptempo numbers.

Overall a superb album in what has been a strong month for new releases. This has had many repeat plays and will get many more. Highly recommended.

"Listen to my heart beating, on the line......"

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