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. Each lilting song is a different disguise Lewis tries on. "I’m searching for salvation / I’m my own valentine," she sings. But in the words of Neil Sedaka, breaking up is hard to do. Explaining why you’re breaking up/running away/slamming the door is hard to do too. Especially to an insufferable hanger-on like "Cookie Lips." Gentle as a breeze, but resoundingly straightforward, Nice As Fuck’s whole album could be a nine-song meditation on Fleetwood Mac’s "Go Your Own Way." "All the shit we talk is a smokescreen," Lewis sings in her highest register, this time quavering like Chrissie Hynde on the single "Door." "It’s a waste of your time, a waste of my being."
There’s one outlier at the end of the LP. On "Guns," Nice as Fuck offers an unadorned plea for radical sanity. "The solution is revolution," Lewis sings with the simple elegance of a Lennon lyric. "Kill ‘em with love."