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Liily Reinvent the Wheel with their Debut LP

By Erin Christie

By Athena Merry

Unquestionably, I have a lot of bias when it comes to a certain rising experimental rock outfit called Liily (after all, they did graciously fill the cover spot on the very first issue of my first solo zine). But even if I had no prior knowledge of them at all, I’m confident that their newly released debut album TV or Not TV would still be on my radar one way or another.

Regardless of your personal level of awareness on Liily, it’s certain that they’re on the cusp of entering a wider public consciousness, and rightfully so.

Since their early days jetting around Los Angeles, the band have staked their claim via magnetic live performances, wherein drummer Maxx Morando sets the scene and vocalist Dylan Nash is all but composed. On their debut, the band take that raw, unhinged energy, and translate it into a compact 12-track epic, one that you can’t help but get sucked into. It’s a record that builds worlds and tears them down, only to bring them back up again, and this is the distinct difference between these tracks and the material Liily have released before — while their entire discography is littered with gold, this album shows the band at their prime in terms of storytelling, of executing fully-fledged tales constructed with larger-than-life theatrical material, in addition to showing them at a point in their careers when they can barely lift a finger and compose a score that keeps you on the edge of your seat. At least while I listened and sat in mine, I felt as though I was strapped inside a bumper car manned not by myself but by the band, leaving me completely transfixed while I endured a whirlwind of soft-cushioned blows, screeching metal, and head-jostling catharsis.

“Odds Are Its Blue” incorporates a sonic frenzy layered so meticulously that the sounds of an intergalactic battle scene mesh perfectly with a techno-infused interlude that draws forth imagery of a rave pulsing with life. All of its frayed edges are tucked away neatly, though, resulting in a track that’s equal parts explosive and messy, and composed and calculated. This is the very sweet spot where TV or Not TV exists — at the same time that it’s absolutely chaotic and out of control, it’s constructed precisely, with intention and purpose behind each gear shift and peppered sound effect. It just clicks.

“The Yig” accomplishes a similar effect, bursting forth with all-powerful gnashing synths. Likewise, hard-hitting banger “Man Listening To Disc” can easily be etched into one’s brain with its repetitive phrasing. The commandeering line, “Give me all the fruits of life / Take off the seal, I don’t want the peel,” is forthright, and honestly poetic, a call to arms in the name of asking for more.

The record closes with “I’m Glad When They Arrive, And I’m Glad When They Leave,” allowing for one’s heartrate to slow back down to normal bpm, as with the introspective, slow-burning shoegaze single, “Anvil.” With slower tracks such as these, Liily present themselves at their most versatile.

Rather than resting on the shout-y, abrasive, “post-punk” laurels of similar acts that they no doubt can’t escape from being compared to (“The Suit That Sold Itself” does channel black midi in terms of it’s cacophony of brass mayhem), Liily make a quick break from their contemporaries in the musical rat race through not only mastering what they’ve been known to excel in, but through weaponizing elements of the unknown to their benefit as well. As established early on via the record’s first single, “I Am Who You Think I Think I Am” – and even earlier with their 2019 debut EP, I Can Fool Anyone In This Town — Liily isn’t just any other band, and they’re just getting started.


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