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Boomkat Product Review:
A band built by American child actors sounds like a dubious proposition, but Rilo Kiley founders Jenny Lewis and Blake Sennett are just that (IMDB them at your leisure). After spending time on cool indie hotbeds like Barsuk Records and Saddle Creek, the band have finally made the jump to a major. Those familiar with the band principally for Ms. Lewis' solo work (on Rough Trade) are in for a bit of a shock: the Nashville stylings of "Rabbit Fur Coat" are thrown out in favour of some brassy AOR indie pop, LA-style. That might not sound too promising, and the sheer poppiness of the band puts them across as incredibly straight at times, but Lewis' central performance is boundlessly charismatic and there are some real FM-ready treats here. The title track is a beautifully realised piece of mid-tempo bubblegum and 'Close Call' has enough weight to avoid hitting the middle of the road. Tellingly, the band are at their best on more country-tinged exploits like opener 'Silver Lining' and the upbeat rockabilly shuffler 'Smoke Detector'. No doubt many long-term Rilo Kiley fans will balk at just how mainstream their sound has become (closing number 'Give A Little Love' makes Ashlee Simpson sound challenging) but they've still got the wherewithal and musical chops to keep things sounding sophisticated and several cuts above your average major label pop group.