Rilo Kiley | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Rilo Kiley 

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Twentywhatevers are forever struggling to reconcile their good intentions with their passive disengagement from the world, but "The Good That Won't Come Out," the lead cut from Rilo Kiley's 2002 album, The Execution of All Things, is the most self-lacerating and clear-eyed expression of that dilemma I've heard this decade. As if to solve the problem for themselves, the LA pop quartet broadened their emotional scope and musical ambitions for last year's follow-up, More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute). But the band sounds relaxed and almost blithe, as though it's achieved this new expansive sound through a graceful upward glide rather than a slogging, dutiful ascent. They pounce into the political arena with "It's a Hit," an impressionist yet oddly empathetic swipe at militaristic chimps and confessional song-poets that's neither overearnest nor overironic--and makes room for some 10,000 Maniacs horns. Front woman Jenny Lewis locates recognizable, human-scale emotions even within melodramatic numbers like "Does He Love You?"--a soap opera of friendship and adultery worthy of the WB--as guitarist Blake Sennet slides his hooks between her vocals and the rented orchestrations. Lewis often sells herself as damaged goods, and she isn't much for happy endings, but she's in there swinging: on the closing "It Just Is," she balances notions like "everybody dies" with "today's the day I realized that I could be loved." Neva Dinova opens. Mon 5/16, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16. All ages.

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