Rilo Kiley is perhaps a band most immediately characterized by its inclusion of two former child actors (guitarist Blake Sennett was on Nickelodeon classic Salute Your Shorts!). To me, Rilo Kiley always sounded like a less daring version of indie rock ensemble Broken Social Scene, so I always approached them with a “why bother?” kind of attitude. And “Let Me Back In,” the band’s first “new” release since their 2009 breakup – and part of the group’s rarities collection, rknives – admittedly tugs on some pretty standard pop heartstrings as far as song structure and melody are concerned. But it’s also absurdly listenable and relentlessly cute, even standing up quite nicely against the significantly more released “Portions For Foxes.”
Jenny Lewis’ singing never feels adulterated nor her lyrics preposterous, and she manages to give a measure of gravity to a voice that is actually pretty small and humble; she never lets things get too syrupy, or too obstinately sultry, either. And the shimmering, skinny acoustic guitars sitting right up front lend “Let Me Back In” some measure of starry eyed wonder. This ode to L.A. almost makes the city sound like a rural village, granting it an innocence it is not usually given, nor does it likely deserve. If it were actually a new piece of recorded music from Rilo Kiley, and not just something from the archives, “Let Me Back In” would definitely meet the admissions criteria for the group’s re-entry into pop music pseudo-fame.