REVIEW: Liily Smashes Expectations with Debut Album, “TV Or Not TV”
If listening to Liily has taught me anything, it’s to throw my expectations out the window. The LA-based alternative band, consisting of vocalist Dylan Nash, lead guitarist Sam De La Torre, bassist Charlie Anastasis, and dummer Maxx Morando, released their debut album TV Or Not TV this Friday after teasing several singles over the past few months. Swapping the grounded, alternative sound of their first EP I Can Fool Anyone in This Town for a genre-defiant, tour de force of sound and energy, Liily knows how to keep fans on their toes.
This album is everything quintessential to Liily and more, bringing genre-breaking variety and eccentricity to a post-punk sound. Pushing beyond their past work, the tracks shift and evolve as you listen, bringing in influences from jazz, electronica, and shoegaze that weave through the album. It’s a total composite of genre; disjointed pieces click, things that shouldn’t work suddenly do; even as a listener you feel the infectious nature and joy of experimentation. The album is ever-changing, and you genuinely never know where the group will bring you next. Moments of stark quiet pierce the air in place of layered punches of frenetic, crunched instrumentals. It’s industrial, psychedelic, harsh, and dreamlike all at the same time, yet somehow still completely unified. At the end of each track, you’re left in complete anticipation of what will come next.
While the album can be seen as an exploration of their scattered influences, the attitude it brings is textbook Liily. Deep licks and grooves permeate the album, and tracks like “Man Listening To Disc” and title track “TV or Not TV” make it almost impossible to stand still while listening. Vocalist Dylan Nash brings the intensity of their live performances into the recorded tracks, with spoken and concise vocals to complement syncopated drum beats and complex guitar and bass riffs. Tracks like “Anvil” and “I’m Glad When They Arrive and I’m Glad When They Leave'' bring a new, tamer vocal sound to the mix, as well as giving nods to shoegaze sensibilities, a step away from the main themes of the album. The album is truly everything you could want from the group and more.
TV Or Not TV is an extremely ambitious debut album, but Liily was able to pull it off with ease. Overflowing with untamed, bordering on feral energy, the group creates a visceral experience for listeners to sink their teeth into. It’s a treat to listen to, and you can really feel the joy of its creation and experimentation throughout. If nothing else, TV Or Not TV is a celebration of uncertainty and change. Though it may feel like a departure from the Liily we knew before, it’s a strong sign of evolution and maturation for the band, and we’re beyond excited to see where this takes them.