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Sarah Tomlinson


Sometimes a band just nails it, like a moment early on this, Rilo Kiley’s third album. It’s in the song “Does He Love You,” which expands from lush, string-laced ballad to sinuous rocker as singer Jenny Lewis roars: “And your husband will never leave you, he will never leave you for me.” It captures the deft alchemy with which this LA-based indie rock quartet can blend emotional revelation, narrative craft, and musical muscle. The album contains many such moments, as the band incorporates varied styles, from the saucy guitar- and keyboard-driven rocker “Portions for Foxes” to the soulful torch song “I Never” and the wry, sepia-tinged ballad “Rip Chord,” sung by the band’s guitarist and cosongwriter Blake Sennett. The songs are a range of social commentary, coming-of-age tales, and a cast of lost lovers, like the lonely telemarketer that appears in “A Man/Me/Then Jim,” a lovely song that evokes early Paul Simon, but supported by a calypso-flavored rhythm from drummer Jason Boesel and bassist Pierre de Reeder. The only drawback to so many vibrant moments and varied styles is that a few songs feel slight, lacking in musical texture, and they don’t quite cohere. But the band, which left hip indie label Saddle Creek to start its own venture with major-label backing, seems hungry to push its burgeoning talents. The album is out Tuesday.