by MacKenzie Wilson
Singer/songwriter Blake Sennett hasn't stopped working since issuing the Elected's debut release, Me First, in 2003. In between writing, recording, and promoting Rilo Kiley's third album, More Adventurous, he created this delightful 14-song set entitled Sun, Sun, Sun. Here, the Elected dress up their breezy soundscapes of lost loves and broken hearts for an enchanting second album. The sunshiny pop of Sun, Sun, Sun is more magical in comparison to Me First. It features some of Sennett's most brilliant work to date, and the band's overall summery sound is much more cohesive here. Sennett, along with Jason Boesel (drums), Daniel Brummel (bass), and Mike Bloom (lap steel/harmonica), flirt with elements of pop and soft rock for their own field of view -- an inquisitive inner spirit that's searching for a new, cozy place to belong. Assorted banjos, horns, and acoustic and electric guitars are nicely layered throughout as Sennett's picturesque reflections tell their own stories. The dreamy opener, "Clouds Parting," just barely establishes the scene of setting out on your own, leaving what is familiar behind, but "Would You Come with Me" immediately picks up the pace with its lazy country drawl. Rilo Kiley songstress Jenny Lewis also makes an appearance here, contributing lyrics to the sunset-soaked "Fireflies in a Steel Mill" and "The Bank and Trust," and adding backing vocals to "It Was Love," an indie rock heartbreaker that could easily be a reflection of their past relationship. The Elected are definitely charming at their most vulnerable; however, it's when they are most passionate that they truly shine. Sennett is a crooner on the brassy, cinematic "Did Me Good." The Elected are definitely dynamic here, but "Not Going Home" is the swan song of Sun, Sun, Sun. The rush of the chorus and the richness of the song's instrumentation make for a hypnotic ebb and flow, rounding out the breadth of this album. Stay up and see the sun; the Elected make it worth it on this one.