Services (For the Soon
to Be Departed): The Tayt Overture
(Primary /Che / Elektra)
by Jeff Norman
Those tracking Lilys' bewildering ramblings from one release to the next should note that there is, in fact, at least one consistent aspect to each of their releases - at least for me. The first few listens of each Lilys title don't quite seem to take: some details are striking, others puzzling, but the songs often lack instant memorability. There's a second similarity: repeated listenings draw their brilliance to the surface.
Services, a rather slight EP (only 15 minutes long), is no exception to either of these descriptions. Having listened to it repeatedly over the last month, I now find half the songs on it running through my head whether I want them to or not. Kurt Heasley is still on a bit of a '60s kick, but this time he's fast-forwarded the rewind machine a few years from, oh, late 1965 or early 1966 to a year or two later. The sound this time is a bit more pop (lotsa cool electric organ sounds) and less garage (fewer raucous guitars). At several places he seems to have channeled "Surf's Up"-era Brian Wilson's muse: melodies arch sinuously; sonics are as detailed as one of the many banana splits wolfed down by the 1968-vintage Wilson. "The Gravity Free Atmosphere of MSA" (Heasley hasn't lost his knack for bizarro titles) forces me to cement my membership in the International Order of Old Farts, since I find myself thinking of nothing so much as the middle section of the (ahem) Grateful Dead's "New Potato Caboose" - from back when they were actually interesting, before that brown acid. (At least I had to dig through old tapes in the attic to find that title.)
True to Heasley's apparent obsession with period detail, Services pretends to be held together by some weird-ass sort of storyline: "a blues opera for a child to be born named 'Tayt' in six movements." It's not clear whether it's the "opera" or the birth that's six movements long - one hopes, for the mother's sake, that it's the former. And "blues" are nowhere in sight, so your mojo can kick back and relax. At any rate, listeners can safely ignore this storyline - a dangerous throwback to an era when records came with footnotes. The music does just fine by itself, thank you - although it does seem, in its brevity, more like an appetizer for whatever Lilys cooks up next than a full course.
View the original online review right here.
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