The Execution of All Things
Anyone remember that so-awful-it’s-great Nintendo movie The Wizard that starred Fred Savage? Ever wonder what happened to Jenny Lewis, the girl who played little Freddie’s love interest? Well, she spent 2002 recording one of the best indie rock albums you’re going to hear this year. Say it with me now: Whaaa?!
It’s true! Lewis and the rest of her cohorts in Rilo Kiley manage to distill a couple of decades worth of indie rock’s finer moments into twelve tracks. It’s apparent from the first track, “The Good That Won’t Come Out,” that the band knows what sources to draw from. The programmed beats percolate under weepy pedal steel and a ratty post-punk guitar before blossoming into an orchestral conclusion. Two songs later a Boards of Canada-styled intro gives way to dual guitar interplay, strings and oscillating synths on “The Execution of All Things.” This kitchen-sink aesthetic the band applies to their sound is their greatest strength. The album’s only weak point, “Three Hopeful Thoughts,” is bland because it relies too much on the guitar-bass-drums generic rock sound.
Lyrically Lewis and co-writer Blake Sennett are sure to please the post-Modest Mouse crowd looking for more songs about long, lonely road trips through winter landscapes. Thankfully Lewis manages to squeeze in a little bit of sunlight on songs like “My Slumbering Hear” and the album closing emo-celebration “Spectacular Views.” The latter screams to be included on every mixtape made this summer while at the same time sonically threatening to bludgeon any other upstart emo band into instant irrelevance. It’s incredible stuff.
Kind of makes you wonder where the kid who played Fred’s little brother from The Wizard is. Somebody find him and give him a guitar and a record contract! Quick!