Lilys - Everything Wrong is Imaginary
The Lilys are, for all intents and purposes, one man; Kurt Heasley. The band have progressed over the years into a collective built around Heasley's song writing, not too dissimilar to Mark E Smith's The Fall. Not having heard much about these guys until I caught them at ATP this year, I was impressed with their own take on post-Pavement American Indie rock with the added infusion of elements of shoe-gazing and psychedelia.
Having been made into a one-hit wonder due to their song "A Nanny In Manhattan" being used in a Levi's advert and shifting a rather impressive 85,000 copies (and appearing on Top Of The Pops no less), their output has been patchy and, at times, disappointing. This probably isn't helped by Heasely being a single-parent when his wife walked out one morning and didn't return.
However, things seem to be on the up with their 7th album "Everything Wrong Is Imaginary" which takes the listener on a rollercoaster ride through the history of American music from it's folk roots up to current indie pop. We have "A Diana's Diana" with it's almost Prince 80's styling with high pitched vocals and funk fuelled bass line to "O.I.C.U.R" and it's humble guitar strummings and simple drum machine beat. At times they remind me of Karl Wallinger's World Party; a talented songwriter who wants to turn his hand at writing anything and everything but could maybe do with some focusing on what his true strengths are.
These strengths lie in Heasley's ability to focus his influences into quality slices of indie-pop. The aforementioned "O.I.C.U.R." is a highlight along with the closing track "Scott Free". An almost post-folk tune with is high vocals gently balancing over the acoustic guitar with piano chords which glide into the song as it heads towards it's conclusion. Then there's "Knocked On The Fortune Teller's Door" which is pitched somewhere between My Bloody Valentine and The Brian Jonestown Massacre; all detuned guitars and ethereal vocals and chords crossing over one another, merging into the drums and keyboards to create a wall of noise. If only Kevin Shields could get back to work and produce something like this then the world would be a happier place.
It's just a shame that the entire album isn't up to this standard and is let down by it's descent into boring drones which don't build to anything. During "Still In All The Glitter" and it's fuzzed up chords I almost fell asleep with its angelic keyboard chords further drifting off into the abyss. Even the title track and its repetitive drum roll has ideas of morphing into something but it just can't quite get there.
So there's something sadly lacking here to make the world sit up, take notice and wonder what they've been missing all this time. There's some quality songs here, as well as peppered throughout their back catalogue, but it just seems as though a full album is a little beyond Heasley. I tell you what though, his "Best Of" collection would be mighty fine.