Divided they rock 

Rilo Kiley changes without compromising sound

click to enlarge From the rock n roll union of Camp Beverly Hills - and Salute Your Shorts comes Rilo Kiley.
  • From the rock n roll union of Camp Beverly Hills and Salute Your Shorts comes Rilo Kiley.

Near the end of a recent phone interview, Rilo Kiley singer Jennifer Lewis expressed cautious optimism about the commercial prospects of the group's latest album, More Adventurous. "We'll see what happens with this record," she said.

Early articles about the CD frequently centered on Rilo Kiley's decision to part ways with its former record company, the highly respected indie label Saddle Creek Records (home to the fast-rising band Bright Eyes).

Instead, the group released More Adventurous on its own newly created label, Brute/Beaute Records, and arranged distribution through Warner Bros. Records.

The move disappointed those who believe that moving to a major label inevitably forces artists to compromise their music to gain mainstream radio play and, ultimately, sell a large number of records.

For their part, Lewis and her bandmates, guitarist/singer Blake Sennett, drummer Jason Boesel and bassist Pierre de Reeder, spoke candidly in earlier interviews about the move away from Saddle Creek.

They didn't discount the possibility of signing directly to Warner Bros. if the label liked the early response to More Adventurous.

That's exactly what has happened, and Warner Bros. is preparing to re-release the album. An exact date has not been set, Lewis said.

"I felt like it was inevitable that [a major label] was where we were going to end up," she said. "It seemed like the time was right for us. I don't know what sort of success that will bring us. That doesn't really concern me. I just wouldn't want to regret not having taken a chance."

Warner Bros. is getting a band that certainly deserves exposure on a major scale. In More Adventurous, the label acquired one of 2004's best CDs -- a record that achieves considerable variety within what essentially is a

country-tinged pop-rock sound.

More Adventurous is the most fully realized album yet for Rilo Kiley, which formed in 1997 when a mutual friend introduced Lewis and Sennett, both Los Angeles natives who had viable careers as child actors.

Their relationship began on a strictly artistic level as they formed Rilo Kiley and began collaborating on songs. Eventually, a friendship evolved into a romance that lasted two years before it ended.

"I think it was the music that brought us together," Lewis said, commenting on the romantic split. "I don't think we would have been friends apart from that. ... Certainly we are like family now and it can be difficult at times, but I think it's getting better for us, I really do."

Despite the fairly rough breakup, Lewis and Sennett remained determined to keep Rilo Kiley together. Lewis feels their songwriting relationship only has continued to grow through the ups and downs they have endured.

"I think our collaborative relationship has evolved quite a bit over the years, nearly a decade of writing songs together," Lewis said. "I think it started out where he would write all of the music, and I would write the (vocal) melody and lyrics over his guitar songs. And then I started playing more guitar.

"On The Execution Of All Things, I had started writing more music on my own, and I think on More Adventurous it really pretty much is split down the middle.

"It's fun because it's always changing and there's never one set formula."

-- Alan Sculley


Rilo Kiley with Feist and The Brunettes

Gothic Theatre, 3263 S. Broadway, Englewood

Monday, June 13, 8 p.m.

Tickets: $14; visit ticketweb.com.


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