Rilo Kiley - Rkives

A collection which provides more satisfaction than surprise.

Label: Little Record Company

Rating: 6

The gentle opener to Rilo Kiley’s compilation of near misses finds Jenny Lewis cooing ‘I’m leaving you… for the palm trees which bow their heads.’ And when Rilo Kiley went major label and released ‘Under The Blacklight’, it did seem for a brief, sunny interval that this was the dysfunctional rock outfit to shed their relative outsider tags and embrace the golden vistas of the mainstream. But it didn’t work and we’re left with ‘Rkives’ as a post-mortem.

Post-mortems are never welcoming events and this compilation veers from the ridiculous (the remix ‘Dejalo’ recalls the depths of REM’s dreadful ‘Radio Song’ detour) to the quite beautiful (‘A Town Called Luckey’). But what ‘Rkives’ really does display is a band caught between indie experimentalism and the lure of stadium pomp.

In this middle lies a rather stylish country pop outfit. ‘Bury, Bury Another’ is a swirling, slide guitar driven lament which wouldn’t sound out of place on ‘The Execution Of All Things’; ditto ‘Well, You Left’, a Grant Lee Buffalo-style swagger through the desert which – a rarity for this compilation – sees Lewis share vocals with Blake Sennett.

‘Rkives’ doesn’t shed any light on Rilo Kiley, there’s no standout defining track that was flippantly consigned to a b-side or the vaults. Instead, it’s a collection which provides more satisfaction than surprise. Which, for a post-mortem, is no bad thing.