'Better Can't Make Your Life Better'
By Mark Jenkins

The Washington Post
October 18, 1996


THE INTRO to "Cambridge California," the first song on Lilys' "Better Can't Make Your Life Better" could be hardly anything other than the Kinks, circa 1964. Yet this stylistically and geographically peripatetic quintet (once of D.C., currently of Boston) is not leading the latest revival of the British Invasion. "Better" does owe more to the mid-'60s than do previous Lilys discs, which drew heavily on the neopsychedelic sounds of late-'80s Britain. But singer-songwriter Kurt Heasley (the only perennial Lily) combines divergent ingredients with an authority that transcends mere revivalism.

Perhaps most impressive is "Paz en el Hogar," which opens in the Doors' "Soul Kitchen," enlists a vocal arrangement from the Association, then plays up its Latin lilt by turning into a Spanish-language samba, only to end in a bit of jet-whoosh that suggests the 1965 Byrds. Nearly as sweeping are such tracks as "Shovel Into Spade Kit," which mates the Kinks with orchestral doodles. Such hybrids would be impossible without their models, but what's most impressive about "Better" is not how Lilys reproduce the sound of '60s rock -- it's how they revitalize its spirit.

Copyright The Washington Post

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