Allow me to preface this with a warning – there will likely be some gushing. You see, few bands in recent memory have grabbed my attention like London rockers Lilygun. As a rule, I make a habit of listening to an album the whole way through, making a few mental notes as I go, before putting pen to paper in writing a proper review. With this recording, perhaps more than any other, I had to wipe the slate clean with each song. Three songs in, I simply stopped trying to define or categorize this band and instead just let it be heard.
There is so much depth to this record, school children should make wishes and throw coins at it. It’s dark and cerebral, it’s moody and pensive, it’s operatic and it rocks balls. Musically, there is an evident solid chemistry with gorgeous bass lines by Aaron John and David Ryder Prangley and drummer Belle Star laying down the foundation for massive orchestral highs and magnificently simple lows. Add to this a deliciously balanced mix of guitar sounds, ranging from haunting background growls to full bore wall-o’-sound solos that make me want to strap on leather and Doc Martin’s and destroy something (I’m more tame these days, so I just ripped the tag off of a mattress… but it STAYED ripped…).
Tracks like “Peace of Mind” and “Excuses” are great examples of what makes Lilygun so… well, so Lilygun. Both so groove laden they verge on playful at times, each have such great and distinct ‘hook’ on the chorus you’ll have it in your head for hours. “Peace of Mind,” in particular, features a guitar solo from James Ford that – I promise you – you’ll rewind to listen to at least a few times. Further adding to the mix, the lyrics on “Excuses” I found to be a full-bore permission slip to speak my mind and give the world my own brand of hell.
Among my favorite tracks is “Conversations.” Gritty, and almost 3 dimensional in the layering of sound, this has guitars that sound like they are right next to you one moment and across an auditorium the next phrase. Screeching like a banshee and growling like a caged tiger, this is the song I’ll be putting on every road tripping mix I make for the next five years, minimum.
Oh, but wait – Then there is the tour-de-force that IS Anna-Christina. With song writing chops that, for me, rival those of the great Tori Amos, she is certain to be a force to be reckoned with. The heart and soul of Lilygun, her vocals help push these songs to places the music can’t quite reach. At times, she sings sweet and lilting like a gospel choir, and moments later, I expect her to be kicking my door in and barking orders. I liken her, with great admiration, to the amazing Cassandra Ford (The Vincent Black Shadow).
This is not to mention the fact that she is one of the most gorgeous bad-ass rocker women I’ve ever seen (side note: Anna-Christina; A.C. If I may – On the odd chance you are into slightly pudgy music reviewer types in their early thirties with more useless musical knowledge than will ever be practical and who live halfway across the world… look me up! *gives wink and gun*)
The closing song on this record is “Diamonds” – which is so fittingly melodic and almost anthem-like it could be placed nowhere else on the disc. Such a great album the whole way through, I can’t imagine a better way to wind it down. If I ever get the chance to see them live, you better believe I will. Where Lilygun goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I believe they can write their own ticket with offerings of this quality. It deserves to be heard, so do yourself a favor and crank this one…loud.