Release Date: Jun 24, 2016
Record label: Loves Way
One thing Jenny Diane Lewis is not, is a minimalist. Take one of her absolute greatest compositions in a crowded canon: 2004’s “It’s a Hit. ” Functionally her old band Rilo Kiley’s very own “Once in a Lifetime,” the song was hella more anxious than Byrne’s, from that “smoking-gun-holding ape” Bush “throwing his own s**t at the enemy” and from a then-new major-label partnership where the threat of no airplay was a “holiday for a hanging.
For being one of indie-rock’s most clearly defined personalities, Jenny Lewis does her best not to be pinned down. In the decade or so since she lost interest in Rilo Kiley, Lewis has bounded from one project to the next, chasing whims, collecting collaborators, and generally trying on new hats with no fucks given about whether they fit or not. And although she’s always given the impression of being an open book, writing with apparent candor about her desires, convictions, and complete and utter inability to escape her own head, she’s made it increasingly clear that no single album offers a complete self-portrait.
“I just try to keep the dream alive,” Jenny Lewis declares on “Higher”, one of the nine songs on the debut album from Nice as Fuck (NAF). What precisely that dream may be is hard to say, considering the many divergent projects Lewis has contributed to in recent years. From the ashes of Rilo Kiley’s dissolution came a successful solo career, punctuated most recently with 2014’s memorable The Voyager.
The Jenny Lewis-helmed, superbly-named Nice As Fuck arrives with its own theme song and an arsenal of chill breakup tunes. Au Revoir Simone’s Erika Forster and the Like’s Tennessee Thomas round out the trio with New Wave drum-and-bass syncopation. Meanwhile, Lewis pulls off subtly nuanced vocals. She coos like a disco star in a champagne flute ("Angel"), wiggles like a B-52 on the surf-y "Higher" and recalls the minimalist New York punk-funk swagger of ESG on "Homerun." It’s all part of her great escape.