One of the greatest bands that most people haven't heard of
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 03/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many discerning rock aficionados know the Lyres, but these guys remain one of the least known great bands in America. I don't know the reason. Perhaps the main guys in the band had day jobs they couldn't quit to do that worldwide tour. Maybe they had a fear of flying and/or driving that has kept them from branching out. Whatever the reason, it is criminal how few people know the Lyres. Over the years I have lent eight or nine people my copy of LYRES LYRES and ON FIRE, their two best albums, and every time I've done this the band has gained new fans.
The band that the Lyres most reminds me of is the sixties British band the Animals. If ? and the Mysterians had recorded more, perhaps they would remind me of them. Sufficient to say that the band is driven by tremolo guitar and Farfisa organ and sounds a lot like the Animals except they are driven more by soul than blues. They are also among the greatest bands ever to come out of Boston. The Lyres are often referred to as a garage band, but one has to qualify this by saying that they sound like a British Invasion garage band. They are famous for having had a host of line-ups and for having lasted for several decades, the golden thread running through every incarnation being organist, front man Jeff Connolly.
Essentially, there are two must-own Lyres albums and two really-nice-to-own albums. The two must-owns are this one, LYRES LYRES, and ON FIRE. Most record guides and review sites regard the latter as their best album, but I have to say that I couldn't bear to part with either disc from my music library. ON FIRE is perhaps a more consistently fine album, but I'm not sure that the best parts of LYRES LYRES are better than ON FIRE. But one shouldn't have to choose between the two. The two nice-to-own albums are AHS: 1005, which over twenty years ago was originally an EP on vinyl but which now on CD has been expanded with cuts of many of the songs that later were on their first full album, ON FIRE. The other album that I would recommend is A PROMISE IS A PROMISE. The latter is a mish mash of older material, new material, and live recordings, but much of it is first rate (with the caveat that much of it is not).
LYRES LYRES is just a dream of an album. At its worst, I find it unrelentingly entertaining, while at its best it fills me with what I can only describe a pure joy. I simply can't listen to "How Do You Know?" and feel unhappy. In fact, it engenders something akin to glee. The album opens with two incredible cuts, the wonderful "Not Looking Back," which is followed by the even better "She Pays the Rent" (which is very slightly marred by having the organ inexplicably buried in the mix). "I Love Her Still, I Always Will," with its guitar that seems stolen directly from the Animals, is another irresistible cut. The chorus, in which Connolly proclaims that he loves her still and wants to tell her that he always will, you want to go fall in love and break up just to have someone this song can refer to. The album then rolls straight into another awesome pair of songs, the driving "No Reason to Complain" and then straight into the slower and sadder "The Only Thing." But really, there isn't a bad cut on the album. I first discovered this album and ON FIRE around 1990 and I have listened to each of them an incalculable number of times over the years, without a hint of diminishing joy.
Anyone wanting new music to listen to should definitely take a risk and pick this up. If you love garage, you will love this. If you love British Invasion rock, you'll love this American version of it. If you love music you will love it."
Turn this up and don't sit down!
Rick Buckman | Flagstaff, Arizona United States | 07/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it. We have all seen great bands during our college days but how many do we still absolutely praise nearly twenty years later? The Lyres fit this description. "Lyres, Lyres" is arguably their best album. This alubum provides the listner the closest opportunity of seeing them live other than actually doing so. For those who have seen this band play, you understand what I mean. Unlike their previous and later albums (although they are certainly worth having in your collection) "Lyres, Lyres" takes garage rock to a new unbridled level of frenzy. Rough but clean, raunchy but respectable, wild but controlled, this album is a constant contradiction of itself. This is exemplified by the very nature of the songs and how they are performed. Bottom line: this album is a must have."
Incredible, joyful sounds that need to be shared. Unforgetta
Weed of the North | 04/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What if say...The Dark Side of the Moon...was played in a forest and no one was listening? Would it still be great? My answer is..of course it would. Just like Lyres Lyres.
I've been a music collector for a long time now and what never ceases to disturb me is how truly great music such as this sometimes goes widely unheard or unheralded. I realize that music production has a business side to it but how the catchy, infectious, original songs on this cd have failed to capture a larger audience is beyond me. This disc deserves to be right next to Abbey Road or Exile On Main St. or Doolittle.
Probably like some others, I first heard of The Lyres when their "Help You Ann" was rightly included on the Children of Nuggets fantastic "garage rock" compilation. That box set consisted of songs by various artists released from 1976 to 1996 and my first reaction to hearing their song was to ask why I had never heard of the band before. I've now come to subscribe to a conspiracy theory - Boston just wants to keep The Lyres to themselves.
"Help You Ann" led me to their On Fyre cd but I HAD to have more so I bought Lyres Lyres and while both discs are wonderful, this one is better by a noise. If you like "garage" or 60's oldies or straight ahead rock like any Clash song or the music of more recent groups like The Greenhornes or The Spoons you NEED this cd. Take my word, it will be stuck in your system on repeat for a long, long time.
There isn't a weak song in the set and if band main man Jeff Conolly were to read this I would be truly embarrassed for even offering slight criticisms about any of his gems, but in the past I have found reviews such as the following helpful, so here goes...
1. Not Looking Back (10/10) - A great opener! Starts the cd with a driving drum beat and has the usually prominent organ taking a back seat. Awarded bronze for third best song. 2. She Pays The Rent (10/10) - My favourite song. Here the organ plays a larger role and Jeff's vocal is superb. Truly a classic. Solid gold. 3. You'll Never Do It Baby (10/10) - Pure joy! Makes you laugh as Jeff whoops it up. A return to the crisp, pounding drum beats of John Bernardo. Silver for a close second. 4. I Love Her Still, I Always Will (9/10) - Hate giving anything less than a ten but while a terrific song this one just isn't as strong as the opening triad. 5. No Reason To Complain (9/10) - A nice fade in and good beat. A cover version but hey, no reason to complain. 6. The Only Thing (7/10) - A little darker mood created here. I appreciate the nice change of pace and wouldn't trade away any song, but it's just not why I love these guys. 7. Stacey (9/10) - Didn't realize The Dave Clark Five were still cranking them out. Like the name dropping ending. 8. How Do You Know? (10/10) - Oooooh, they're back strong with this one and the girls are gonna dig it. 9. You Won't Be Sad Anymore (8/10) - It's a given that Conolly's organ playing is an integral part of any Lyres tune but here it is special. 10. If You Want My Love (10/10) - A little different sound here. Sort of a weepy ballad flavour. They should do more of these. 11. Busy Men (10/10) - If you want introspective lyrics go find Tori Amos or someone, these guys are too busy. Just fun that'll put a smile on your face when this comes on your car stereo on a hot summer day. Sort of a Dick Dale surf guitar feel to the thing. 12. Teach Me To Forget You (8/10) - Somehow more of a pop sensibility to this one. Nice, just not as rocky. 13. Stormy (8/10) - Not the strongest song but an appropriate closer.
Please, just buy this cd. You'll quickly have your own favourites that you can't get enough of."
Arguably the best Lyres studio record
Jeffrey Jotz | Rahway, NJ USA | 05/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Lyres, the legendary Boston garage combo of the 80s and 90s released their best work back in the mid-80s with Lyres Lyres. Unlike many garage bands today, the Lyres pack a lot of energy but little sloppiness into their sets, and are faithful worshippers at the altar of mid-60s garage rock. Their cover of the Alarm Clocks' "No Reason To Complain" could possibly be better than the original. The disc also contains one of their signature tunes, "She Pays the Rent," which has always been a crowd-pleaser at the band's frantic live shows."