Considering its potential uses, Rilo Kiley’s latest — their third album, More Adventurous — resembles the top-shelf spirits that should be consumed during a contentious break-up in that both reveal, reinforce and assuage the heartbreak.
Jenny Lewis, the principle songwriter, would be a terrible spades partner: Ten of the 11 compositions are hers (the 11th belonging to the other principle band member, Blake Sennett) and we weather ten moments of a woman wronged; listening is a top-to-bottom Charleston dance step of the most revelatory stripe.
Indeed, these are send-offs from a broken-bedroom Bastille. “I Never” is an emotive spaghetti Western, riddling a former lover of Lewis’ with rhetorical holes, allowing her to shine through. Similarly, saddling “Portions for Foxes” with hit potential would be facetious, as the track is much more. Its guilefully upbeat tempo and acrid appraisal of social foreplay comprise the maypole around which More Adventurous cavorts.
The disc passes by like a stroll over pins and needles, with cynicality and reverse-chauvinism so pointed that they draw blood from the listener’s heart as Miss Lewis breaks each and every mirror in her house of lyrics. Being a fan of such exposition does not denote involvement in any sort of ‘pleasure club,’ but it does connote one’s taste for the aforementioned figurative spirits that shore up the sequestration and loneliness that follow a love ended.
Rilo Kiley is the Virgil guiding each listener-cum-pilgrim through a sort of modern Inferno that trumps Dante Alighieri as to the perfection of misery and suffering as the neediest of companions, the only difference being that More Adventurous sports eleven circles to Dante’s nine.
Who has not experienced a streak of romantic disrepair they thought irreversible? The central focus of the album in question is that luck of the heart can change with a whisper or a touch, but its souring again is an eventuality that one must take in hand with the alacrity of a court jester. Love is not so much a Canterbury Tale of appetites and satisfaction as it is a protracted fumble through darkness without end.
What Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett’s music begs of its consumers is the acceptance of others’ wiles and deception in light of how they may or may not effect happiness at any given time, even though a smile is always ringed with a taint of what is to come.
Contact Adrian Dowe at firstname.lastname@example.org