album reviews

Everything Wrong Is Imaginary
Manifesto (2006)

Mentioning the Lilys to any music fan is likely to elicit two questions: Are they really still around, and do they still sound like the Kinks? The answer to the first is yes, even though their recent output has been sporadic after a steady stream of albums throughout the 1990s.

As for the second question: Although the Kinks are still an obvious influence, Lilys mainman Kurt Heasley no longer sounds quite as much like a Ray Davies impersonator. In fact, the Lilys' latest, "Everything Wrong Is Imaginary," supplements Heasley's pop-psychedelic leanings with a large helping of the band's other well-honed style, shoegaze. It's this swirling sound that permeates such songs as the dreamy "Still in All the Glitter" and the lush, spacey "The Night Sun Over San Juan."

But those hazy songs add only more punch to "Everything Wrong's" guitar-driven pop numbers. The jangly "With Candy" pairs sharp keyboard accents with Heasley's vocals, which are part stutter, part pouty moan, while a fast-moving, repetitive guitar melody energizes his laid-back singing on "Black Carpet Magic." Even the instrumental title track combines a melodic bassline with glimmering chords, sounding like a bouncy karaoke track that never needs vocals. Those sonic surprises keep the Lilys sounding fresh, even if their concise, snappy pop songs always conjure images of the Kinks.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post: 3 February 2006, Page WE08
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