Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The curse of the latest Lillydale album

Settle in, children. I'd like to tell you a tale. It's a ghoulish tale of mystery and intrigue. Of apparitions, dressed all in white. Of evil, um, postal deliveries and stuff. It all began what seems like a fortnight ago. But, in fact, it was closer to two fortnights ago.

Typically getting a copy of a CD to review for the blog is relatively easy. Either I contact the band and ask if they can send me a copy, or they contact me and ask if they can send a copy. No fuss, no muss. When I contacted Lillydale, they referred me to the press person, Peter, at Skyscraper Media who is working the record. I sent him a message, and he offered to send the disc to me. So far, so good.

Well, some time passes and I follow up with him again, mistakenly thinking he is also working the new Slender Means record (since both Lillydale and Slender Means have stuff out on Mt. Fuji Records). Turns out that Peter's not working the Slender Means record, but he's surprised to learn I never received the Lillydale record that was mailed weeks earlier.

No dice, I tell him. I never got it. So, he says he'll send another one. More weeks pass. Earlier this week he emails to ask if I'm going to review the disc. "What disc?" I have to ask, since the second mailing never arrived either! We give up and he gives me a URL to download it from. Turns out that doesn't work either! But, it was a technology problem that at least could be overcome.

Now, more than six weeks later (this sucker was released in February!), I'm listening to the disc. Better late than never, I suppose!

Now, onto the disc. It was produced by Johnny Sangster, which is always a good sign. The performances are a little looser around the edges than I had anticipated, veering toward a "played live" feel, but not reaching "shambolic" proportions. The production itself sounds great.

The band has an interesting vibe that I can't quite pin down. I hear a little bit Modest Mouse, a little early REM and oddly a little bit of David Byrne. Mix that in with a healthy dose of 1990s indie rock and you'll have something approaching Lillydale. There's a faux (?) accent happening with the vocals that I first found off putting, but with multiple listens I have grown accustomed.

A few of the songs could've used some editing, as they begin to approach the six minute mark. But, "Broken Stereos" (which can be downloaded from their myspace page) is just an instantly catchy hit song that is an entirely enjoyable way to spend 4:02 of your life. I'm going to live with this one a while, and I think the other songs will likely sink their teeth into me in the way this one did immediately. But, given the long, winding road this release took to reach my typing fingers, I couldn't sit on reviewing it another day.

Lillydale has a good local following for their live shows, and you can become part of the crowd if you head to the Jules Maes this Friday night (5/11), since they're playing there with a tragically/humorously titled band called the Vomiting Unicorns. Apparently also on the bill is a Billy Joel tribute group called The BJ's. This show gets my "weirdest line up of the week" award.

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