Album Review: Rilo Kiley - RKIVES

17 April 2013 | 10:33 am | Rachel Inglis

As their final farewell, Rilo Kiley’s Rkives is a send off that’s suitably mournful, sprinkled with memories and promises of what could have been.

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After 2007's pop record gone wrong Under the Blacklight, the rumblings of a new Rilo Kiley release were met with equal parts glee and misgivings. Would it be another disappointment or a final return to form? In truth, it was both; Rkives is a collection of unreleased songs, rarities and b-sides from the length of the band's career. \

The poetic guitars of Let Me Back In lead us into Jenny Lewis's seductive vocals, soaked in the ache of a love hate relationship with her hometown as she croons, “no matter how cruel I've been, L.A., you always let me back in”. With nine previously unreleased tracks, Lewis' vocals dominate with all the sadness, broken promises and heartbreak you'd expect of a child star turned indie goddess. All the Drugs is an early highlight as recognizably bright sparkling guitars straddle the alt-country/indie boundary punctuated with Lewis's customary dark lyrics. The nature of an archive allows a few tracks that weaken the mix.

The remix of Dejalo featuring Too $hort is a case in point – a far cry from the band that ruled the Barsuk/Saddlecreek golden era of indie alongside Bright Eyes and Death Cab for Cutie. Well, You Left and I Remember You feature Blake Sennett's divisive vocals, always a little grating following Lewis's deep soothing tone. Meanwhile American Wife looks back to a more timid Lewis ala Take Offs And Landings as she sings “it may sound depressing, it's just a life lesson, in the bartering, gambling life”. As their final farewell, Rilo Kiley's Rkives is a send off that's suitably mournful, sprinkled with memories and promises of what could have been.