Rilo Kiley’s most recent album, fittingly titled “More Adventurous,” seeks to solidify the band’s elusive style and clear talent through the course of an 11-track adventure. While listening to this album, you might find yourself wondering, “Is this folk music or is it pop?” The band’s talent allows Rilo Kiley’s sound to change with each track, and even though it might sound like pop, you’ll find the lyrics are more thought-out than your typical manufactured popular album. “It’s a Hit” sets the stage for the listening pleasure that ensues. A song that focuses on the decisions we make and the difference between taking action and accepting them from others, it delivers the message in an accessible package. Moving through the album, I found myself thinking by track three that all the songs were going to sound fairly the same in their arrangement – heavy on the guitar, highlighted vocals by Jenny Lewis and a catchy, yet somewhat predictable rhythm throughout. However, upon reaching the song “Ripchord,” my mind was changed once again. An acoustic song featuring only Blake Sennett on guitar and vocals forced me to check that I was listening to the same album. With an earthier tone and clearly original lyrics, this track provides a bridge from the first part of the album to the last. Amidst the upbeat and pop-sounding tracks, “Ripchord” blatantly stands out as a mellow note, revealing that the album will not be what you expect it to be. It further illustrates that it’s best to ignore any preconceptions, as you’ll only be let down to find that all of Rilo Kiley’s tracks are original, thoughtful and musically individual pieces.The fifth track, “I Never,” continues to vary from the previous songs, as it features smooth and seductive vocals from Lewis, parallel guitar-playing and the classical beauty of the violin. Rilo Kiley clearly displays their grasp on a diverse group of music, utilizing a guitar, bass, keyboard and vocals to create music that you’ll swear is folk one minute, and then the next minute you’ll swear that it’s pop.The album reflects the band’s utter insistence upon their independence to create the music they enjoy and that which means something to them, as opposed to manufacturing their work for a larger record label that would potentially dictate their style and sound. From beginning to end, the album depicts wholeness. There’s a completeness to “More Adventurous” that satisfies the listener’s need for meaningful and relatable lyrics and a unique sound that blends the individual band member’s talents together seamlessly. Everyone can find something they appreciate in this album – there’s an acoustic quality to all of it, yet it maintains an interesting bass line and utilizes a violin, cello and bass to create a unique sound. “Absence of God” will force you to verify that you have the right album playing, because the country-sounding twang of this track makes it stand alone on the album, yet somehow still manages to blend it with the other songs in its quality and accessible lyrics. Bottom line – this album is the real deal. You owe it to yourself to try it out.Gray can be reached at

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