Rilo Kiley

Sheer charm can carry a band only so far. Just look at Rilo Kiley. Front lady Jenny is so charming you just wanna, I don't know, brew her up some tea, make sure she has enough blankets, stuff like that. And that's just on the strength of the candid band photos in the More Adventurous CD booklet. Turn the thing on and there's her voice. Clear and self-contained but not coy, melodic but not show-offy; i.e., charming. Then there are the songs. "Peppy," "brassy" and "self-effacing" all spring to mind as modifiers, but truth be told, it boils down to one thing: yep, the C-word. The song titles can be reflective ("A Man / Me / Then Jim") or snotty ("It's a Hit") or despairing ("The Absence of God") or optimistic-in-the-face-of-tall-odds ("More Adventurous"), but the only possible reaction to each tune seems to be a little smile that just kinda grows. The band's pop is crisp, sprightly, varied and catchy, and the production on the disc is ultrabright but never quite slick. Charming, charming and more charming. So where can such a singular and rarefied quality carry a band? Straight into your heart, that's where. Charmed, I'm sure.
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Scott Faingold