Ill Lit

I Need You

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Ill Lit's second album, I Need You, is another quintessential example of the sunny-yet-smoggy electronica-meets-folk-rock that has been coming out of California (or, at least, coming from people who wish they were in California) since the late '90s. I Need You is a smaller, simpler, less electronic affair than the group's debut, WACMusic, which is kind of a shame, since that album offered a more sophisticated (and less ballyhooed) version of the sound that is usually associated with bands such as Grandaddy. On songs like "Mostly Fair Skies" and "Broken Open Fence," Ill Lit veer toward traditional singer/songwriter fare. They do it ably, particularly on the lovely album closer, "Anniversary," but this side of the band's sound is still less immediately interesting than the poppier and more sonically playful moments. Fortunately, I Need You offers many of those, beginning with "Mid-City," where the band's close harmonies and fuzzy guitars open I Need You on a high note; "In the Thick" adds some subtly tweaked beats; and "Spring Chicken" and "Prestonrules" recapture the glory days of WACMusic's buzzy electronics and crisp folk-rock. One of the dangers associated with this pretty, atmospheric kind of music is that it often becomes too pretty and atmospheric; though there are times where I Need You threatens to become merely decorative, Ill Lit put enough interesting lyrical and musical details in their songs to prevent them from completely receding into the background. While it may be a shade less captivating than Ill Lit's debut, I Need You is still a worthy album, particularly for anyone fond of the band's better-known contemporaries.

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