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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Rilo Kiley
The Execution Of All Things (CD)

There is an subtle uneasiness that is quite pleasing in Rilo Kiley's music. What could have been presented as standard (if nice and witty) big city indie rock gets treated to 6/8 country time changes, twittering drum machines, and the zingy stylings of singer Jenny Lewis. Formerly on Barsuk Records, their second album The Execution Of All Things out on Saddle Creek is quite a crowd pleaser even if that crowd might be a mixed bunch. The emo rockers will dig songs like "Spectacular Views" while the lo-fi eclectic crowd will get their rocks off on parts of "A Better Son / Daughter" and "The Good That Won't Come Out". The alt-country 'n folk crew will be happy with the twang of stuff like "Hail To Whatever You Found In The Sunlight That Surrounds You" and "With Arms Outstreched". In short, assuming you aren't into trance or electronica, you're bound to find at least one song on this album that tickles your shmatty whiskers.

Shmat wonders if some of the comparisons to Liz Phair are in some part due to Jenny Lewis's occasional pottymouth. At least 4 of the songs contain words that will conspire to keep the FCC gawking in awe whilst hitting the *bleep* button. The bad words aren't a noticeable distraction, however, unless you are happily looking forward to them, which the Shmat confesses he was at times. But there's something really exciting and perhaps vulnerable about a girl with a penchant for expletives who's not singing in a punk thrash band.

The other comparison the Shmat had in mind is to the venerable singerette Joy Ray of Sissybar fame. The cutesy meets carnivalesqe storyteller feel is all there, though Lewis has a little more substance on the lyrics front and tends to rock out a little harder when the band gets it on. Also, speaking of comparisons, check out the E. Smith inflection (complete with breathing pauses in all the right places) that guitarist Blake Sennett can pull off when he contributes vocals on songs like "So Long" and "Three Hopeful Thoughts" . But the similarity to Mr. Miss Misery doesn't detract from the songs, but rather compliments them quite well. Also, Sennett's a kick ass guitar player.

The Shmat is rather happy with this purchase and thinks you will be too. He has just one question (excuse his ignorance here) ... who is Rilo Kiley named after?

- review by SHMAT (5.10.03)        

Saddle Creek
PO Box 8554
Omaha, NE 68108

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