T.J. Simon's #9 album for 2004
First Appeared in The Music Box, September 2004, Volume 11, #9
Written by T.J. Simon
Los Angeles indie pop band Rilo Kiley’s stunning third outing More Adventurous features a more consistent and mainstream sound than the group’s 2002 release The Execution of All Things. Throughout the new album, singer and co-songwriter Jenny Lewis does a lot less shrieking while showcasing her captivating voice and introspective heart-on-her-sleeve lyrics. The band also explores more diverse musical influences than seen on previous efforts, sneaking in a touch of alt-country on both the title track and A Man/Me/Then and delving into electronica on tunes like Accidental Death. Elsewhere, the ensemble offers a Dusty Springfield-style dose of blue-eyed soul on I Never, and delivers a quiet, acoustic, singer-songwriter piece on The Absence of God.
Rilo Kiley’s lyrics tend to explore unhealthy romantic relationships and personal angst. For example, Lewis warns a lover that she’s "just bad news" on Portions for Foxes, and she assumes the role of the "other woman" addressing her lover’s wife on Does He Love You. The latter tune is arguably the best composition on the disc as it builds slowly to a climax in which a full string section drives the melody home. Also worth mentioning is Blake Sennett’s fantastic acoustic guitar work, which is evident throughout the album. His turn at singing on Ripchord, however, disrupts the record’s intense emotional flow, but wisely, the focus quickly shifts back to Lewis’ alluring voice.
There likely will be some debate among Rilo Kiley fans regarding how More Adventurous stacks up to the band’s previous releases, and some undoubtedly will criticize it as being less audacious than the group’s previous fare. In grounding the music in a more accessible sound, however, Rilo Kiley has succeeded in opening the doors to new fans who otherwise might not gravitate to the ensemble’s consistently superior lyrics, and that’s a laudable goal, one that demonstrates a sense of maturity as well as a desire to grow. ˝
More Adventurous is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2004 The Music Box