Rilo Kiley - Rkives (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
RILO Kiley finally deliver their keenly anticipated rarities collection Rkives and succeed in impressing with one of the most diverse collection of songs you’re likely to hear in a long, long time.
Comprised of 16 tracks, this boasts unreleased songs, B-sides and rarities spanning the band’s decade-long career, yet somehow manages to sound fresh and very much of the moment.
Some tracks, almost inevitably, do underwhelm (making it easy to explain their unreleased nature). But for the most part, this is a treasure trove… a celebration of all things great about Rilo Kiley.
Primary among these is album opener Let Me Back In, a tenderly delivered slice of acoustic country-pop that finds Jenny Lewis is utterly heart-melting fashion (“let it be printed, let it be known, I’m leaving you… and all you can do is watch me go”). It’s a doozy of a starting point – disarming, heart-broken yet seductive.
It’ll Get You There, on the other hand, slow-builds into a more gritty rock offering amid a dark energy that finds Lewis singing: “All the pills that you take will get you there.” Once it finds its stride, it’s gutsy and great.
Runnin’ Around is alive with cute hooks and harmonies as it recalls the tale of a philandering man, Bury, Bury, Bury Another is an ode to lost jobs that disarms by virtue of its simple acoustic backdrop and country twang, while Well, You Left has an achingly endearing central melody that gets you from the start.
The breezier side of the band is showcased in the bright pop offering that is I Remember You, in which Blake Sennett drops the type of vocal that David Bowie would be proud of, while the playful side is fully on show on the Zondo remix of Dejalo, an electronic workout with hip-hop elements that finds Lewis rapping in utterly convincing fashion (and with belated assistance from Too $Short). When she sings “I’ve got a tail if you wanna chase it”, you may well be ready to pursue! It’s evidence of how Rilo Kiley can consistently change styles and toy with expectation and succeed.
Patiently, on the other hand, is just a really great rock-pop offering that is empowering in its tale of overcoming life’s obstacles, while About The Moon has a stripped back beauty to it that finds Lewis’s delightful vocals gently augmented by a bluesy-gospel tinged backing.
The Frug, with its irresistible guitar hooks, handclap beats and kooky lyrics (“I can do the frug, I can do the Robocop, I cannot do the smurf”) is a great track upon which to end things. It’s just so darn catchy.
Of the more peculiar, less successful offerings, A Town Called Luckey turns into a slightly unconvincing rock opera of sorts that is shot through with dark lyricism, while American Wife doesn’t quite pull off its mix of cute vocals and biting sentiments.
But these are the exceptions… in all other respect, this Rkive collection is a terrific listen that merely takes your appreciation for all things Rilo Kiley still higher.
Download picks: Let Me Back In, Bury, Bury, Bury Another, Dejalo, I Remember You, About The Moon, Patiently, The Frug