I'd already been disappointed by one Saddle Creek spin-off project this year--Desaparecidos guitarist Denver Dalley's mushy synth-pop disc Statistics--when the Elected's Sub Pop debut landed in my mailbox. But instead of sucking, Me First, a dreamy little album by Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett's loose bunch of Los Angeles space cowboys, is actually the small-scale pleasure spin-off projects should be. The band's foundation is the kind of melodic Laurel Canyon folk-rock rich white folks have been making there for decades, but Sennett adds piquant electronic detailing by the Postal Service's Jimmy Tamborello and keeps things interesting by indulging his McCartneyesque jones for stylistic variety; the high-stepping "Don't Get Your Hopes Up" could be a dashed-off White Album outtake. Live, the group tends more toward shackle than Ram; when I caught 'em live last week Sennett insisted on wearing a microphone-fitted gas mask for the first 10 minutes of the show--as apt a metaphor for indie-rock's self-flagellation complex as any I've seen recently.
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