on 27 February 2005
I bought this album on the stenght of one song ('Does He Love You?') and was not disappointed. This album is full of fantastic pop/rock songs, killer quirky hooks and Jenny Lewis' voice, which demands attention.
This album truly is more adventurous than the norm, each song telling a story with a lyrical ambition that rarely seems over the top. Like other Weird Pop Bands (tm), Rilo Kiley forgo the tradition of rhyming couplets and repetition packed songs. Instead, each track takes us on a journey. However, unlike other bands that are too clever for their own good, Rilo Kiley retain their pop sensibilities. These songs have fantastic hooks and a sense of fun, but are not so shallow that they grow boring on the first listen. Instead the album gets better and better - the music and lyrics retaining interest and actual excitement in the music everytime.
The "pop songs" on this album - Portions For Foxes and I Never included - are gorgeous, soulful and sassy, brilliantly sold by Jenny Lewis. Curbed by some studio exec and they could esaily become chart toppers, but as they are these songs retain a freshness and are genuinely exhilarating. The lyrics, the turns of phrase, and the stories told in 'Does He Love You?''It's A Hit' and 'Absence Of God' are fascinating too. I find myself writing down quotes from the lyric sheets, I find them that interesting. But also the music is great, and easy catchiness making the twisting lyrics easy to enjoy.
The album fades slightly at the end after a wonderful first half, but that's a minor complaint. The last few songs are good rather than great, but the album as a whole is one I can listen to again and again and not grow tired of.
Wonderful pop songs, catchy, inventive and humourous - Rilo Kiley are the pop band of the new millennium and by all rights should be superstars. Please, give this album a listen.
on 16 June 2005
I bought this album based on a friend's recommendation and the tracks It's a Hit and Portions for Foxes. Both of these tracks are, as far as I'm concerned, essential listening for the summer. They are the most accessible musically speaking of the album, although as you get familiar with the lyrics they improve (the exact meaning of It's a Hit still eludes me, but I love its obviously critical nature). Other tracks cannot be appreciated without paying close attention to the lyrics (The Absence of God in particular will grow on you as its meaning clarifies). This is a songwriting album, and it goes deep, reaching its climax with the truly beautiful, understated and softly sad A man/Me/Then Jim, a track which will make me stop whatever I'm doing to sit still and just listen.
If you want your summer music a little deeper and More Aventurous (cheap pun), get this album.
on 12 September 2004
As a dedicated fan of Rilo Kiley i was deeply anticipating the release of their third album. I ordered it after not hearing any of the songs.
The songs all have the familiar sound, the cool and beautiful voice of Jenny Lewis and the brilliant guitar of Blake Sennett. Rilo Kiley do of course have their own unique style and sound, and in this album they stick (almost) to it.
The album has two surprising tracks, firstly "Ripchord", a song similar in style to the snippets of "How i choose to remember it" that you hear between the tracks one second album "The execution of all things". Secondly "I Never" A very surprising style for the band, a sassy soul song with Lewis' beautiful voice at it's most powerful, not my favourate track but is worth a listen.
The top two tracks on the album are "Portions for foxes" a classic Rilo Kiley song in their typical style. Then there's "Man/me/them/Jim" a song with a story, i love this track, the guitar is amazing and the story is kind of funny.
All in all this album is an excellent piece of work, from one the most underrated and unheard of great bands off all time. Buy it today.
Some albums just stay with you and share a special place in your life. This is one of those albums. Rilo Kiley (named after a made up Aussie Rules footballer don't you know) should have been huge. Portions For Foxes should be an anthem we all know. Does He Love You should be the ultimate song of a bitter left behind partner. This album is so full of those should have moments. But its still an absolute classic. The arrangements are fantastic, Jenny Lewis sounds at her absolute heart stealing best and the whole album works.
If you like your quirky pop then this is for you...get it and wonder why Rilo Kiley weren't the huge band they should have been
The real strength is in the details. The way a song like "Does He Love You" is suspended on rasping guitar chords until the last third when a plangent string arrangement swoops in lifting the song to another level entirely. The way "Portions For Foxes" scurries around on harem scarem guitars with lovely elliptical dips in the arrangement or the more classically written "I Never" blossoms with it's low key verses and incremental choruses that rise like hyper skyscrapers. There just some of the reasons why Rilo Kiley, s More Adventurous is the best pop album of 2005 so far.
The songs on this album have a tangible depth with rich and varied instrumentation including mellotron, pedal steel, vibraphone and Wurlitzer. They are sung wonderfully by Jenny Lewis who's clear fervent vocals showcase yet again how effective a simple uncluttered singing style can be. Stylistically it's diverse with the more puritan pop of "It's A Hit" rubbing shoulders with the country influenced title track or the eccentric low key strumming of "Ripchord" and the headlong adrenalin rush of "Love And War( 11/11/46 )".
Frustratingly one or two of the songs are melodically mundane and this prevents the album being the all out classic it could have been., but it ends on a definite high note with the brilliant "It Just Is" which revels in exquisitely placed peels of glockenspiel and another wonderful string arrangement. So yes, the most luminous moments on this album are to be had when a song suddenly and usually unexpectedly reveals it has further to go than you imagined and there are plenty of those to be had. Next album maybe they can take it even further, and deliver a real pop landmark. But only if they are more adventurous
on 8 August 2005
At first another Indie band but after a few listens and I mean a few, the album starts to kick in.
Great music with hints of 10,000 maniacs and earlier albums tap into Grandaddy. Emotional and meaningful lyrics which engage us with the stories being told.
Jenny Lewis has a great voice and doesn't just sing the songs but lives them. What more can you ask for really.
Band of 2005, backing Coldplay in US. Very brave of Coldplay I say.
Buy this and the other albums, you won't be disappointed.
on 20 February 2005
Very fresh sound throughout this album. Great vocals, pretty good variety/range of songs. No flat spots. This is a cd that I wanted to keep playing.
on 27 May 2007
Firstly Jenny Lewis's voice is just amazing...she could make any song sound good and worth listening too. I love The Postal Service and thats how I first discovered Jenny Lewis (her album Rabbit Fur Coat is truly sheer class) and bought this cd without hearing any of the songs from it. I have to say, the first time I played it, I wasnt overly impressed - there were a couple of songs...does he love you, portions for foxes which leap out at you and are fantastic songs....However, after a few more plays Im totally in love this album and have ordered the other two Rilo Kiley cds.
This album is good, but it wasnt an instant love thing for me, it grew on me. Its a mixed bag, with something for everyone. Definitely worth a listen.
on 31 March 2006
This album is all fine, there is a slight niggle throughout however that it isn't quite what it could be. There's not doubt to the songwriting and performance abilities of the band but I feel that a different producer could have produced a true classic.
If you want something of true class try the Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins record.
on 11 December 2007
Bought this after hearing PORTIONS FOR FOXES on radio. What a varied album! Some is downright C&W but the rockier tracks are great. Ditto the ballads. Jenny Lewis has a superb voice and in the flesh looks like Cerys Matthews' pretty sister with ginger hair. Well worth a listen.