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The Lilies We Are the Lilies Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

Frenetic, wilfully perverse fun that deserves a far wider audience.

Rob Crossan 2011

A right rum do, this. A crossover between Brazilian and France master melodists that ends up sounding very much like a product from our own fair isles.

Sounding every bit like a vintage Trevor Horn production, with beautifully descending Belle and Sebastian chords, raucous shout-alongs comparable to early Bees and some hysterical saxophones straight out of the Ian Dury catalogue, this is a slightly woozy house party album for when LSD gets in the punchbowl and revellers start getting into the first phases of debauched undress.

Created by Tahiti Boy and the Palm Tree Family, who contribute the wonderful brass-tinged funk to many of the tracks (including the wonderful Sarava, with a horn lick straight out of the movie soundtrack archive of Roy Budd), the thrust of the record stems from the contribution of Sergio Dias, who, under the moniker of Os Mutantes, has been recording capriciously psychedelic, but always infectiously listenable, pop-orientated sounds since the mid 1960s.

It’s the influence of Dias that turns this record from being a pastiche of the best of idiosyncratic pop into something infinitely more bewildering and unique. There’s some notable guest turns as well. French pop chanteuse of yore Jane Birkin submits some typically breezy and sensual vocals to the piano led ballad Marie and Iggy Pop turns up, in wonderful form here, to growl over the vintage Jon Spencer Blues Explosion-esque freak-out, Why.

The most incongruous track on the album, there’s a quite insatiable amount of energy in Why. Beneath bilious guitars, a breathy female harmonises alongside a distraught Iggy as he pleads with us to answer questions: "Why do we ask why? / Why do we reply? / Why do we stand out?"

Not afraid to push the wilder frontiers of pop, whilst never succumbing to the kind of back-slapping drivel that so many of these collaborations can slump into, this is frenetic, wilfully perverse fun that deserves a far wider audience.

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