For More Adventurous, Rilo Kiley's Warner-distributed hello to the big time, the Los Angeles band is more cohesive, more spotless, and tidier in its tangle of indie pop, torch song, and too-cool-for-school cynicism than ever before. This time out they favor craft over ruckus, rarefied over reckless. Sometimes Adventurous goes too far -- like Belle & Sebastian, RK's fastidiousness can become a sticky glaze. (The overwrought sway of "Does He Love You?" comes to mind.) But the album is a mostly-perfect collection of the various sounds the band does best, wrapped around easily findable hooks. They're well-dressed indie kids ready and quite able to charm the mainstream. Jenny Lewis' vocals are lighter than clouds and Petula Clarksweet, even if she occasionally spits venom. "Any asshole can open up a museum/Put all the things he loves on display," she dismisses in the Luna-like opener "It's a Hit." But Lewis' characters' faults and failings are just bruises on the Rilo Kiley fruit, blemishes that characterize the band's effortlessly clean swirl of live string arrangements, subtle synth/keys, and glowing acoustic guitar. "I Never" is a full-on, cast of thousands soundstage production, a robust, keening ballad filled with pedal steel, fuzzed-out Beatles guitar soloing, and Lewis' gargantuan voice. The title track takes us back to Rilo Kiley's earlier work with its atmospheric country feel, while "Love and War [11/11/46]" is refreshingly propulsive -- it could be Stereophonics covering Lone Justice. Most of the album's quieter moments are equally strong, if somewhat grayed out. Adventurous' stylistic restlessness might take some getting used to for new listeners. But fans from the Saddle Creek days will enjoy the greater attention to detail, and everyone will love the bountiful hooks.
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AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus