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The LA indie-pop band Rilo Kiley went to Saddle Creek finishing school for 2002ís The Execution of All Things, and emerged with a newfound ability to write anthems with chiming bells, soaring guitars, and Jenny Lewisís sweet alto proclaiming, "Sometimes when youíre on, youíre really fucking on!" After some side projects ó co-songwriter/guitarist Blake Sennett fronted the Elected, and Lewis provided backup for the Postal Serviceís Give Up (Sub Pop) ó Rilo Kiley are back with More Adventurous. The polished production showcases Lewisís strong voice and her smart lyrics. The band chokes, however, on a couple of protest-oriented songs. Good intentions may prevail in "Itís a Hit," "Ripchord," and "It Just Is," but they never quite transcend the music. And the bandís attempt at classic doo-wop ("I Never") is another major stumbling block.
Fortunately, Lewis and Sennettís songwriting talents shine in "Portions for Foxes," a catchy Gen-Y relationship anthem, and in the twangy title track, which has a touching vocal by Lewis. The album peaks with "Does He Love You" and "A Man/Me/Then Jim," two pretty songs with shifting, intricate narratives swathed in surf guitar and bongo beats. When the strings kick in on the former and Lewis cries, "I am flawed if Iím not free," you get the sense that Rilo Kiley have more than just a few convincing tricks up their sleeve.
BY ELISABETH DONNELLY
Issue Date: November 26 - December 2, 2004
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