Reviews

The Execution of All Things

Author: Andy Greenwald
10/1/2002 | Village Voice | www.villagevoice.com | Album Review
Rilo Kiley's diminutive singer, Jenny Lewis, looks like Strawberry Shortcake on the Sunset Strip, but when she opens her mouth she's transformed into Loretta Lynn for the lurking class. On a sold-out Sunday night at the Knitting Factory, Lewis led her L.A. quartet through a glorious set of sun-kissed kiss-offs that paid tribute to the emotional and professional constipation of "the overpaid, the underworked, and the uninsured"-in other words, exactly the types expected to be seen drinking three-plus Rheingolds on a school night.

The band's ouvre dives and rambles from the carnival to the carnal, often in the same verse. While guitarist Blake Sennet
wanly wandered his way through a few vocal turns, the show belonged to multi-instrumentalist Lewis, who sang about being a better daughter while cussing like 50 Cent stubbing his toe, and alternately purred and roared about "not going back" to the assholes that got her here in the first place. (Indeed, it would be disingenuous-if not downright dissing the ingenue-to say that half of the fun was being surrounded by typically meaty indieboys shouting, "You fucking rock!" to a frontwoman.

Brightened by Bright Eyes and the rest of his Omaha cronies, Rilo Kiley's brilliant 2002 sophomore release, The Execution of All Things, was a sparkling model of grassroots community building-an ethic realized live when every other band on Saddle Creek emerged near the end of the set (including Conor Oberst, evidently on furlough from his New Dylan™ responsibilities) to shout along in joyful noise. "Let's talk about all of our friends who lost the war," Lewis sang, "and all the novels that have yet to be written about them." And on this night, it was possible to hear hope in her frustration.