Released early last year, Blake Sennett’s other project (I don’t want to call it a side band) the Elected didn’t show up on many people’s radar or on any end of the year best lists. I’m not sure why. Being released on Sub Pop, it couldn’t have gone unnoticed for too long, not to mention the fact that two of its members are also in the deservedly lauded Rilo Kiley. And while Rilo features the (OK, so I’ve got a little crush) stunning Jenny Lewis front and center with Blake playing the part of the genius behind the curtain, the Elected is where he can truly step out of the shadows and get noticed.
Me First is a sensation of an album. Everything seemed to fall into place on this debut. Not only did Sennett start out by writing beautifully personal and intimate songs such as “Greetings in Braille” and “Go On,” but his music prompted none other than Elliott Smith to invite them to record in his personal studio. Then, he simply elicited the help of some of his Rilo Kiley pals, producer extraordinaire Mike Mogis, Orenda Fink of Azure Ray, Jimmy Tamborello of Dntel and The Postal Service, and a handful of others to make the album a `family’ affair. But with all of that, it is truly Blake Sennett who is the star.
Sennett’s country twinged songs are confessional pop gems. Lap and pedal steel, thanks to the Saddle Creek bunch, are quickly overtaking the banjo as the `indie’ instrument du jour, and no one plays them better than the two Mikes, Mogis and Bloom. The first time I heard the Elected was at a recent show. There were two `headliners’ and as I had to work early in the morning, I had hoped that the main band I had come to see played first. Thankfully, the Elected took that honor and opened my eyes to one of my new favorite bands. I can only hope that both of his bands continue to put out records. I don’t know what I’d do if either one were to disappear.
Bright Eyes- I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
Rilo Kiley- The Execution of All Things