The Austin Chronicle

Phases & Stages

Record review

Reviewed by Christopher Gray, September 17, 2004, Music

Rilo Kiley

More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute) Rilo Kiley is frustrating in the best possible way: They deserve to be huge, but if they were, they probably wouldn't be half as good. That's why 2002's The Execution of All Things was so wonderful: It was like discovering some secret pop universe where the lights are low, the lyrics are intelligent, and the guitars are always in tune. And yet the L.A. quartet might have a Letters to Cleo-sized hit on their hands with More Adventurous' "Portions for Foxes." Basically, Jenny Lewis is staring daggers at both her companion and herself ("there's blood in my mouth, 'cause I've been biting my tongue all week"), bright and sad, with a melody Bob Pollard would die for. The way she choruses "baby you're bad news" should make her a star all by itself. Then there's "I Never," where Lewis convincingly belts Shelby Lynne right off her torch-song throne. "Accidntl Deth" moonlights in the harmonious electronica of the Postal Service, while the fragile twang of "The Absence of God" and "More Adventurous" makes the band's yearning lyrics that much more poignant. Rilo Kiley does melancholy so well it's almost a shock when something like the stabbing "Love and War (11/11/46)" comes along to remind you they can throw down, too. Soon to be a jukebox staple at every down-at-the-heels dive and java joint in hipster America, More Adventurous has the potential, and the songs, to go a lot further. Hey, if Fountains of Wayne can do it ...


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