Lilys: Precollection (Manifesto)

Precollection deserves to be treated as something more than a mere nostalgia act.

Hold on a second; I’m thinking of how to write this review without invoking the name of Ray Davies. Rich in ’60s British Invasion-isms or not, Precollection deserves to be treated as something more than a mere nostalgia act. So before we begin, let’s acknowledge the prominent influence of the Kinks on Lilys frontman Kurt Heasley, a Philadelphian who sings as if he grew up along the Mersey, and then forget that influence for the rest of this review.

Precollection is a solid, summery album that draws as much from shoegazer pop as it does from the subgenre I have promised not to mention in this review. Distorted electric guitar streams course over cleanly picked acoustic parts. Sequenced drums share space comfortably with man-powered beats. Heasley’s voice, with its affected British accent, hovers in the higher registers, sometimes full-bodied and sometimes fey, warbling personal poetry with psychedelic overtones.

Precollection’s songs reflect a band confident in establishing its sound while avoiding a tiresome sameness, creating dynamic songs with interesting sounds. “Melusina” pairs sunshiny guitar chords with hand-played drums. “Squares” is a fast number layering chiming guitars and shiny, clean drumbeats. It’s highly reminiscent of— Oh, right, I’m not going there, so I won’t tell you Who I had in mind. “Mystery School Assembly” rides over a looped sample of brushed cymbals. Closer “365”’s fuzzed-out guitar dutifully chugs through a changing scenery of flanging atmospheres, rapidly strummed acoustic guitar, and psychedelic vocals, practically promising a build-up that never shows.

There are a few misses (“Meditations on Speed”), but taken in the context of genre, Precollection is an excellent album. Removed completely from its context, it’s an excellent album, as well.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply