It’s hard not to love a title like, Everything Wrong Is Imaginary [Manifesto Records] by Philadelphia’s indie electronic shoegazers, Lilys. It’s even harder not to love the disc. It might be kind of a metaphor in itself that music is in the forefront of this album, the cool vocals buried beneath layers of distortion and effects. But you’re not delving into Lilys for lyrics alone—this is a total experience kind of album.
They’ll win you right off with the first two tracks: “Black Carpet Magic” has an 80s electronic drum beat, 60s psychedelia, 1990s fuzz guitar and present day quirkiness. Then, there’s the perky, old 1960s-vibe-gone-wrong, “With Candy,” and the track, “Knocked on the Fortune Teller’s Door” is a Lush-meets-Jimi Hendrix sort of trip that’s not to be ignored. A couple of Lilys tracks slip a notch or two in charm and/or impact, like the space disco throwaway, “A Diana’s Diana,” but even that’s tolerable.
There are deep dips into the well of the 1960s and 70s, with an unevenly cool mix of the Velvet Underground’s roughness and the Byrds’ vocal sweetness. There is also lots of 1980s-influenced drum machine and synth, like in the title track instrumental (interesting, but not living up to its great name), and “O.I.C.U.R.” is what Pink Floyd would be doing if they were on an indie label today—with atmospheric vocals that feel like they really mean something—you’re just not sure what; and elegantly enhanced with guitar and keyboard to solidify the ambiguous statement.
That’s not to say Lilys are all retro, however—there is so much going on sonically and so many songs left me looking around the room to see whose cell phone might be going off. But no, there was no phone. Just a tinny background melody doing its own thing on the periphery. Kind of like the band itself--although we speculate that won’t be for long. [Release date: February 21, 2006]