Krunchy Kinksy Indie Rock Must have!
On the heels of our reissue of the Lilys 1999 cult classic The 3 Way, we’re honored to bring you its predecessor of equal acclaim, 1996’s Better Can’t Make Your Life Better. Together they form what most would call the band’s pseudo British Invasion period, and in our opinion, two of the greatest albums to come out of the 90s. This album found a new audience via multiple tracks appearing in AMC’s Lodge 49. We’re honored to bring you the first vinyl reissue of Better!
….sounding like something the Kinks would have made had Ray Davies embraced psychedelia instead of taking up charter membership in the Village Green Preservation Society. From start to finish, the record has an electric vitality and ebullience that was largely lacking in the grunge-laden mid-’90s.
- Robert Hickey - Popmatters.com
The Lilys became a different band with each album, thanks to the aesthetic whims of madcap leader Kurt Heasley and a revolving-door personnel policy that rivals the Fall’s. After shaking off their early ’90s shoegaze guise, the Lilys delivered a major-label debut that’s full of Kinks—in the big-K and little-k senses. Better Can’t Make Your Life Better is classic Brit-rock contorted: while “Shovel Into Spade Kit” revs up on a snarling riff you’d swear was emanating from an old Pye Records 45, Heasley spends the rest of the circuitous song smashing up the vinyl and gluing the pieces back together into curious new combinations. But the complicated approach could yield simple pleasures: Thanks to a plum placement in a Levi’s ad, the delirious, cowbell-clanging “Nanny in Manhattan” became the rare mid-’90s American rock import to jostle for chart space in the UK Top 20.
- Stuart Berman From Pitchfork’s The Best Britpop Albums… That Aren’t British
The intro to "Cambridge California," the first song on Lilys' "Better Can't Make Your Life Better '' could be hardly anything other than the Kinks, circa 1964. Yet this stylistically and geographically peripatetic quintet (once of D.C., currently of Boston) is not leading the latest revival of the British Invasion. "Better" does owe more to the mid-'60s than do previous Lilys discs, which drew heavily on the neopsychedelic sounds of late-'80s Britain. But singer-songwriter Kurt Heasley (the only perennial Lily) combines divergent ingredients with an authority that transcends mere revivalism.
Perhaps most impressive is "Paz en el Hogar," which opens in the Doors' "Soul Kitchen," enlists a vocal arrangement from the Association, then plays up its Latin lilt by turning into a Spanish-language samba, only to end in a bit of jet-whoosh that suggests the 1965 Byrds. Nearly as sweeping are such tracks as "Shovel Into Spade Kit," which mates the Kinks with orchestral doodles. Such hybrids would be impossible without their models, but what's most impressive about "Better" is not how Lilys reproduce the sound of '60s rock -- it's how they revitalize its spirit.
- Mark Jenkins - Washington Post
• First ever LP reissue of this ‘96 mod rockish masterpiece!
• Exquisitely restored artwork that we feel is superior to the original (pixelated) pressing!
• Mastered for vinyl by Joe Lizzi and cut and pressed at Third Man in Detroit.
Lilys - The 3 Way - Also available on LP!
Also available on yellow vinyl from Rough Trade!
Cambridge California • Nanny In Manhattan • Shovel Into Spade Kit • Elevator Is Temporary • Can't Make Your Life Better • Who Is Moving • The Tennis System (And Its Stars) • Paz En El Hogar • Bring Up The Stamp • The Sammael Sea • Returns Every Morning