The Voyager is the new record from former Rilo Kiley lead vocalist Jenny Lewis, it an album layered in the renaissance of the L.A music scene. She surrounds herself with some of the leading exponents of that resurgence including Griffin Goldsmith and Wylie Gelber from Dawes, guitarist Blake Mills and the ubiquitous Benmont Tench. Producer Ryan Adams creates a sonic landscape that owes much to the sound of the west coast, it's a sublime mix of 70's inspired Fleetwood Mac hooks against the synth drenched sounds of early 80's pop, and then we detour to a more stretched out rock sound. Whilst it's not lyrically direct, to me this album is an ode to LA, the hedonism and the disappointment, the drugs and the despair. No city conveys that better than L.A and Lewis taps into that with a biting sense of irony and wit.
Head Underwater seems like a release for Lewis, the demise of her band Rilo Kiley precipitated a dark period for Lewis, this song seems to close the door on that period, the idea that there is sand still left in the hourglass. She's Not Me is classic 80's with big guitar riffs and the soft vocals of the Watson twins with a lilting vocal delivery. Lewis' voice can morph from delicate to more strident as is the case with Just One Of The Guy's, there is something poignant about her observations about her life,
There's only one little difference between you and me
When I look at myself all I can see
I'm just another lady without a baby
Slippery slopes resonates with loud guitars and distortion, hedonism and escapism all in one, Late Bloomer is a wicked tale of sexual awakening,
Open up late bloomer, it will make you smile
I can see that fire burning in you little child.
The opening to You Can't Outrun Em sounds a little like Nancy Sinatra's These Boots Are Made For Walkin, The New You is filled with jangling guitars and 80's sprightliness, Love U Forever is another song laden with great hooks. The great thing about this album is that it doesn't play it safe, whilst old is the new Lewis doesn't play it safe by staying there. No doubt urged on by producer Adams there is real diversity on this album.