i knew them through the more adventerous album - but thought i'd try this one too.
at first i didtn like it - to be fair i didnt give it much time - i didnt find any catchy hooks or gnarly guitars immediately on the 1st 2 songs and i think it must have been tucked away for some 2 years - then last november i had to do some long trips across the uk for work.
I stuck this on as i thought the journey from birmingham to carlisle on the M6 would be a good chance for me to get to know it a little better - my word i'm so glad i did.
as many a music fan will agree - you have these moments every now and again when a piece of music yanks something inside of you and it just clicks - you can almost always remember where you where when it sunk in to your soul and you knew this was something good - well it happened in the outside lane of the M6 just by wigan.
this album surprised me so much - i thought it was pap - but oh no its turned out be a new favourite.
basically it is indie/alt/rock, guitars, female singers, catchy hooks - usual type of stuff - done with a 90's alternative scene influence. similar bands would be tegan and sara, florence and the machine, sally crewe, magnapop, breeders, belly and i hate to say it but its a bit Placebo-ey too(but better!).
ok - what makes this different to faux goth approach of Placebo, or the angst of Nirvana is that the music is so constantly inventive, unpredicatable and ultimately satisfying! Jenny lewis's voice sways between rock goddess and impish sickly sweet child with grace and panache . she is emotive and powerful and it fits very well to there style.
the songs as mentioned in the other reviews blend quiet bass lines and whispered vocals with sliced riffs and needle sharp hooks. At times its rocking, at times its fun, at times its emotional, at times it just makes you smile.
its not perfect though - some songs do have you reaching for the skip button but not very often thankfully, and sometimes her lyrics do sound like the kind of stuff a 6th former would do for their expressive arts a-level and occasionally i have thought hmmm is this a bit naiive and childish and should i being enjoying it as much as a 28 yr old - but i forgive the dodgy lyrics because i just love playing this album.
there are some really strong songs on here that keep twisting and changing a good example being 'my slumbering heart' - and the handclaps and xylophone of 'arms outstretched' makes a great alternative to the guitars.
overall - if you like female singers and rock music try this out - i'm was gonna give it 4 stars - but actually - in terms of this type of indie rock music - this is probably one of the best examples of female led alt rock i have heard since first listening to Kim Deals Gigantic all those years ago!
Sometimes a moment makes a song. The bit in 'Paint's Peeling' when you realise Rilo Kiley have created the whole of the preceding two minutes twenty-eight seconds to build up to this, when the guitars crash into 'hey, how could you love me this way?' and everything explodes into a monumental wall of sound that takes you by surprise because nothing thus far has suggested they could make this kind of noise. The split second when 'The Good That Won't Come Out' morphs into a Bright Eyes song, with pounding drums, glockenspiels and bells and reverberating cymbals, and how the track is over far too soon after that transformation. The point in 'A Better Son/Daughter' when Jenny Lewis suddenly launches into 'and sometimes when you're on, you're really f**king on', and her voice almost cracks under the weight of the words 'you'll fight and you'll make it through' when you know she's only singing for herself, like you do when you sing along. It's beautiful. Actually, the whole thing is beautiful, from the breathtaking frankness, crushing and amazing at the same time, of opening a song with the line 'sometimes in the morning I am petrified and can't move', to the military drums that underpin every word, whether Lewis sounds softly content or on the verge of choking with angry tears.
The album isn't all perfect moments, of course. When guitarist Blake Sennett takes over vocal duties, the tracks sound like hastily-written filler, and the accusations of overt tweeness levelled at the band occasionally feel justified (see 'Capturing Moods'). But Rilo Kiley are much, much more than friends of Conor Oberst, or just another Saddle Creek band. They sound passionate about surviving, and manage to blend that idealistic enthusiasm and verve with the reality of bitterness and disappointment, singing of the literal execution of all things, revelling in 'loving things just because, like the sick and the dying'. Sometimes a few special moments make it worth sifting through the ordinary, and this (mostly) gorgeous album is proof of that.
I heard the song 'The execution of all things' on a cd which came free with a magazine, it was the only song on the cd that stuck out. So, i bought the songs single and loved the two b-sides that came with the song, finally i bought the album and was blown away. The songs on it are all amazing and i love Jenny Lewis' voice, paints peeling, a better son/daughter, with arms outstreched are all some of my favourites, but every song has it's own place. The lyrics for each are all incredibly deep and clever, the tunes are equally as amazing. All in all this album is one of the best in my ever-growing collection, it is VASTLY underrated. Buy it now and open your eyes. Hail to whatever you found in the sunlight that surrounds you.
I first heard of Rilo Kiley through the "Saddle Creek 50" compilation (which I urge you to also listen to). On it was "With Arms Outstretched" which hit me as a beautiful song and also "Jenny, You're Barely Alive" which shocked me as a woman like Jenny Lewis has such a beautiful voice but can deliver the most snarling lyrics with complete honesty. I immediately sought out their albums and was suitably pleased and impressed. Every song is excellent and Blake and Jenny have a definite knack for writing catchy pop hooks over angular, edgy guitars and melodious keyboards. The songs that stand out for me are the opening track "The Good That Won't Come Out", "My Slumbering Heart" (with it's chorus to die for) and the album closer "Spectacular Views". These three songs really show the contrast that the album contains. My only criticism lies with the 'special' track, "That's How I Choose To Remember It", which appears in snippets after various other tracks. Because it is only an excerpt it really cuts the album up and stops the flow of the songs. Apart from that, this is one album that is never far from my CD player!
Jenny Lewis' voice is extraordinary. The words are mature and thoughtful and the music never fails to intrigue and attract. The songs display Rilo Kiley's range, ambition and willingness to surprise. I first heard and liked "Execution of All Things itself but I now get the most out of "A Better Son/Daughter" and "The Good That Won't Come Out". Supposed to be indie-and-country or garage/country, but what do I know? This is an excellent band and I urge you to buy the CD and listen again and again.