Fans of older Rilo Kiley cuts like “August” and “Small Figures in a Vast Expanse” will remember Blake Sennett as Jenny Lewis’ right-hand man and unlikely replacement at the mic stand. While recent albums like 2002’s The Execution of All Things and 2004’s More Adventurous have found Sennett content to strum aggressively alongside Lewis’ vocal powerhouse, the band’s debut full-length, Take Offs & Landings, gave the guitarist a chance to share his vocal charm with the masses. Admittedly daunted by Lewis’ pipes, Sennett has since taken his singing chops and set off on his own to create the Elected – a pop-friendly side project that has drawn comparisons ranging from Brian Wilson to Badly Drawn Boy.
On their second release, merrily titled Sun, Sun, Sun, Sennett takes a more apparent turn away from Rilo Kiley’s alt-country sentiments. While Me First – the band’s 2004 debut – sought to tweak with its mother project’s romantic twang, Sun, Sun, Sun looks to take a more subdued, pop-tinged stance (think Super Furry Animals meets the Beach Boys). Still, the lyrics remain as dreamy and whimsical as any of Rilo Kiley’s less thought-provoking catalogue selections. Between Sennett’s intriguingly hushed falsetto and pretty lyrical imagery, the album manages to work as a quiet homage to ’60s pop rock and California beachscapes all at once. References to working-class Americana (“It’s just that I feel stuck in this American town / I finally got a good job / It’d just be dumb to move now”) and na