""On Fyre" is a Matador reissue of the of the Lyres 1982 debut album on Boston's homegrown Ace of Hearts label. The Lyres, lead by the charismatic Jeff "Monoman" Conolly were among the premiere bands of the early 80s club band renaissance in Boston Massachusetts. Only two other bands, Mission of Burma and the Pixies were arguably more significant players in a music scene that revolved around tiny, smoke-filled, standing- room-only music venues like Cantone's, the Rat, the Underground and the In Square Men's Bar. The neo-garage rock of the Lyres was particularly well suited to the sweaty hard edged clubs of that era. The Lyres embodied all that was pure and passionate in the music of the venerable Boston school of garage punk. Monoman, a walking archive of garage rock, was initially involved with DMZ, the seminal Boston garage rock band of the late sixties. DMZ, along with performers like Willie "Loco" Alexander, provided a blueprint for the for the the Boston punk scene. If Willie Alexander was the godfather of Boston punk, then Monoman and DMZ were his heir apparents. DMZ actually got signed by a major label (Sire), but production quality was so abysmal that even garage afficiandos hated the Flo and Eddy (of the Turtle's) drum heavy mix of sound of the mix. DMZ mutated into the Lyres in the early eighties and the band recorded "Help You Ann" a local hit on Ace of Hearts. "On Fyre" is arguably the most significant album of the post-punk garage movement. Monoman's choppy Vox Continental organ is the signature sound of the Lyres. The snarling vocals, the punky Danelectro guitar and the flat un-miked drum sound suggested a time tunnel back to the mid-sixties heyday of true garage bands like Question Mark and the Mysterians and the Seeds. The technical ability of the Lyres surpassed those "one-hit wonder" bands and put them in a class of garage bands that were actually musically accomplished, like Roky Erikson's legendary 13th Floor Elevators. "On Fyre" has a dazzling and warm analogic mix which enriches authentic garage esthetic the Lyre's sound. The first song, "Don't Give It Up" became the Lyres anthem of hope and glory, in their turbo changed live shows. It is as close to perfect as garage rock has ever gotten. There is a fade-in guitar and drums which is joined by the organ and Mono's half spoken vocals which segues into a pummeling chorus of "don't give it up". The bluesly guitar break which is charmingly eccentric because Danny McCormack resolutely refuses to bend a single note on his vintage Daneletro guitar. All the while, Mono bangs a tamborine on his hip, while chording the ubiquitous Vox Continental with his right hand. On "Help You Ann" Danny's guitar is on a delay switch, and the guitar's cascading echo displays Danny's mastery of pre-digital guitar technique. "Love Me Til the Sun Shines" is one of those innocent but seductive flower power ballads that shows the Lyres mastery of Hart and Boyle school of songwritting. The odd time signature and slowed tempo of "Tired of Waiting" comes close to trumping (but not quite) the original Kinks version. Another triumph is a cover of Pete Best's obscure "The Way I Feel About You." The choice of covering a song by the "failed Beatle" is yet another trademark obscurantist ploy Monoman's enless bag of tricks. The Matador release has also included 10 bonus tracks in this amended issue of the original. These are not throwaways or outtakes, but terrific studio cuts which actually enhance the legacy of the original album. The orginal cover art with the distinctive Lyre's logowork is wisely retained from the 1982 Ace of Heart's vinyl release.The Lyres' cult following has expanded steadily since there final album in 1993. The passage of twenty years since the original "On Fyre" has cemented the Lyres reputation, in the hearts and minds those fans of; the Stooges, the 13th Floor Elevators and other "ragged but right" architects of timeless garage rock. The Matador re-releases of the Lyres back catalog have brought the music of the Lyres to a devoted European audience, where the Lyres are a household name in many areas of Western Europe. The Lyres produced two great albums on Ace of Hearts, this album "On Fyre" and "Lyres, Lyres". There is one mediocre Ace of Hearts release, "A Promise Is A Promise." It fails because the Lyres tried to sound something they were not: a hipster alt-rock, college radio band. The Lyre's swan song on another Boston label Taang!; revisits the sound that made them great and they end their recording career in a blaze of glory. In addition to the Ace of Hearts and Taang offical realeases, numerous bootleg quality live performance are available. The are two are three comilations which are spotty and haphazard. For my money, "On Fyre" should be an essential album for any fan of garage bands, post-punk, early psychedelic pop, or roots rock."
Monoman is loco,but it's the music that matters.
Gavin B. | 07/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jeff connolly works at the record store I always go to.He is totally nut's but he is a great musician.I never knew he was in a band until I found this in my mom's boyfriend car.I played it at my school and even my friends liked it.It sounds like tons of bands from the 60's and that's a good thing. Jeff told me that when they made this he used all kinds of old amps to make it sound so 60s.I like EVERY song on this cd and would like to see it sell millions so jeff would'nt have to work at the record store."
The ultimate truth in advertising
Fran Fried | Fresno, Ca. United States | 03/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""On Fyre" may very well be one of the most appropriate names ever for a rock'n'roll album. The first full-length album by Boston's Lyres wasn't just incendiary -- it was a deliberate act of arson. It also provided one of those handful of musical moments (hearing "Rocket to Russia" for the first time, watching Costello's first "SNL" appearance, the first time I heard "Pet Sounds," etc.) that changed my life as a music fan -- walking into Sounds records in Manhattan's East Village on my 23rd birthday in 1984, hearing the first bashing strains of "Don't Give It Up Now" for the first time, right into the mad vibrato throbbing of "Help You Ann" ... and two songs later, the familiar "You Really Got Me" riff that opened "I'm Telling You Girl," followed by a scream and a Vox organ riff from the depths. And my jaw dropped. And I just about ran out of the store with the album. It led to many Rolling Rock-powered nights over the next decade of seeing Jeff "Monoman" Conolly and his various Lyres lineups in New York, New Haven, New London, Naugatuck, Boston and Hoboken. And between "On Fyre," my immersion into The Fleshtones, The Vipers and the Hoodoo Gurus shortly after, and of course the "Pebbles" comps, I was about 90 percent on my way to being a garagehead. The original Ace of Hearts release was way too short, with just 10 songs. But they were the right songs, including two real Kinks kovers (a sweet "Love Me 'Til the Sun Shines" and a slowed-down, wring-it-out "Tired of Waiting") and the garage equivalent of "Splish Splash" -- the squeaky-clean yet soulful grind of "Soapy." The aces 1998 Matador reissue includes 10 more doses of whipped cream w/cherry on top: "I Really Want You Right Now," another throbber only released on the import New Rose version of the LP; five previously unreleased studio cuts (the best being longtime Lyres staples "Never Met a Girl Like You" and "Swing Shift"), and, best of all, the four songs (if you had the import version) from their 1985 12-inch single. Two of their best tunes came off this single: the wind-it-up-and-let-it-rip "Someone Who'll Treat you Right Now" and especially the bashing, crashing, unrelentless, full-on sound of "She Pays the Rent" (much better than the ensuing dragged-out version that appeared on their next album, "Lyres Lyres"). It's amazing that, 21 years later, it's held up so well (better than many of the fans from back then who swear by it). It's the type of album that if a contemporary radio station just plucked it out of nowhere and decided to play it (dream on), it would get dozens of calls wondering "What the hell was THAT?!?" and "Where can I get it?" The garage tribe, just like the rock'n'roll world in general, is full of hot stove league arguments over how good this record or that record truly is. Among garage fiends, there's no argument about "On Fyre." It was one of the best albums, period, and even more so with all the goodies added for the Matador re-release."
A killer garage album
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 01/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I have to confess that I am an absolute sucker for any garage band featuring an Alan Price-style organist. This has one of the best in Jeff Connolly. If you like the Animals and Alan Price (the legendary organist for the band) or ? and the Mysterians "96 Tears" with a bit of the very early Kinks thrown in, you'll love this stuff. I like even mediocre bands with a decent organ. Luckily, this stuff is awesome.The Lyres have two great albums and one pretty good one. I have to confess that I haven't heard many of their later albums, though record store friends tell me that they aren't as strong as the early ones. But ON FYRE and LYRES LYRES are just great, spine tingling, adrenaline pumping killers. Some music puts me to sleep; some music revitalizes me and fires me up. This is the latter.But if your idea of a great organist is Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, you're gonna hate this. This stuff is not pretentious Art Rock, but grungy garage, party rock. This album is bad dancing, free flowing beer, and the survival of the soul of the sixties. You just have to love this stuff!"
Buy this Album
millpondbooks | Northampton, MA United States | 01/02/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There were two bands from Boston in the early 80s which held it all together for a lot of people, and never got what they deserved, and the Lyres of Help You Ann and Don't Give it Up Now were one, and the early Neats (of Another Broken Dream and Red & Grey) were another. The only thing standing between the Lyres and massive success was the pinhead record industry...The Neats with their jangling, perfect, guitars came within an inch of being REM, and REM (which crashed in with Radio Free Europe, a song which couldn't hold a candle to Red and Grey) was a poor substitute for the culturally requisite Neats, let alone The Lyres, which stand way above the usual idiotic "garage" classification. (Garage, sure, but also...). In Boston in those days we had a music scene which would stand up to Liverpool before the Beatles broke-and nothing happened except indy releases and band members becoming dentists. You can't find the Neats on amazon and Monoman is playing bars. But they were the Beatles and the Stones and nobody noticed, outside some intelligent kids in Boston. Be warned, and buy this album. Now."