Friday, November 19, 2010

FDF Volume 3 Issue 208: Lilac Time - & Love for All

By: March

Album - & Love for All
Artist - The Lilac Time
Key Players - Nick Duffy - banjo, stringed instruments, Stephen Duffy - lead vocals and guitar, Michael Giri - drums and percussion, Micky Harris - bass.
Produced By - Andy Partridge, John Leckie and Stephen Duffy

Release Date - 1990

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This is a band where if you know them, or knew of them here in the States you really enjoyed the Alternative pop rock they did. Sadly the US market was just not ready for them. I only have one of their cds, this one, and just felt it was time.

Overview - This was the third full length release from Herefordshire, England based band "The Lilac Time". Formed in 1986 by brothers Stephen and Nick Duffy the band. The band would release pretty much an album a year in the early years. Come this album the band was set to take America and after a failed attempt at lasting support the band never came back to the US. Stephen Duffy is the key member of the band and continues to be very prolific with his writing and the band continues to write and perform.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The album opens with a big full sounding track "Fields". It is a song that will get a reprise and acoustic reprise later in the record. Duffy has lush vocals and the keyboards and percussive instruments all sound great. The song has a light feel to it but has a certain catchy tempo to it as well. The bass from Harris comes up strong quickly and fades back in to the mix. The band falls in to a neat sort of jam as the main track ends before falling in to a reprise that lasts just a bit over a minute. The money song (for me) comes in "All For Love & Love For All". Honestly, one listen you'll either recognize it right away, or wonder out loud why this song wasn't huge (remember this was 1990). The song opens right up with the chorus and the drum work from Giri is up in the mix. The band nods to the "quarrymen and the moondogs" before a quick harmonica riff of the Beatles "Love Me Do" is played. As the verse ends the harmonies are nice and Harris is right up on the bass and the chorus is infectious. Stephen keeps his tone while others harmonize over that. The mix never shies from the nice bass fills from Harris and Giri gets to hit his drums, but not going to wild. There is a short instrumental break down, but that great bass fill brings it all back together for another run of the chorus. Perfection..really. Acoustic guitars ring out as "Let Our Land Be The One" begins. The band doesn't waste time with getting the vocals started and Stephen continues to shine. He sings with the acoustic guitar for a full run of verses. Nick offers some accordion portions and the song keeps the slow, steady and pretty feel for the duration. On "I Went To The Dance" there is a deeper guitar feel. The chime of the guitars is gone on this one at the start as Giri works out a slow drum tempo. Come the chorus there are larger piano chords and the song keeps check not breaking too much of a sweat. A few cymbal crashes and some harmonies on the vocals offer nice changes from time to time. There are moments you really want the song to "go somewhere" but it works with its tempo and vibe. The guitar and drums slowly build up the intro to "Wait And See". By the time the vocals start they are very hushed and sung under the chug of the guitar. Giri just plays tambourine in time with the guitar parts before rolling across the cymbal to a more full sound. There are horns and a church organ that gets tweaked via some production work. Harris has a sweet bass line that goes seemingly un-noticed, that is until you hear it and realize he has just been cooking the bass line underneath it all. Giri starts to push the volume some and it gets a little more intense with shrills of trumpet thrown in for good measure. "Honest To God" has a spacy/trippy intro with guitars phasing in and out over the long, drawn out vocal notes. It sounds like a Beach Boys tune (Pet Sounds era mind you) and is over in under 2 minutes. The feel is a lot lighter on "The Laundry" as the band seems to find a better sound and tempo, it just sounds very strong compared to other tracks. The band just seems to hit a stride on this one. Andy Partridge (XTC) gets a nice turn on a short guitar solo, but its perfect length and the band quickly goes back to the harmonies. Another very strong track. "Paper Boat" is another heavily piano based song, but not really a sappy ballad either. "Skabaskibilio" is an instrumental that is just a solo piano. It is short, less than 90 seconds long and actually feels a little out of place. "It'll End In Tears (I Won't Cry)" begins with the guitar and bass playing off one another as the percussive instruments set the tone. Harris continues with his strong and seemingly under used bass parts. The song has a pop feel to it, even with the odd time signature. The chorus is the real pay off, with real strong harmonies once more. The piano returns (played by Cara Tivey on all tracks listed with piano) on "Trinity". Stephen sings solo with the piano and it sounds like bells and other percussive instruments fill in the gaps here and there. Its another shorter track and before you know it acoustic guitars are playing and "And On We Go" begins. Stephen is very strong on vocals, even when he holds back he has that certain "voice" that just tickles your spine. The piano work is extended and the acoustic guitars add a nice touch to the track as it starts to conclude. The album closes with an "Acoustic Reprise" of the opening track "Fields".

Where are they now? - The Lilac Time are still active. They go by the moniker "Stephen Duffy and the Lilac Time" now. Duffy is active in this band as well as a solo career.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience)
- I have never seen the Lilac Time live.

FDF Overall Take - Blending pop and rock can come with mixed results. When the band is on, there is some very strong stuff. A few too many "mellow moments" for a real rowdy album, but the pop rockers make up for everything. Worth your time.

Official site is here as well as myspace.
Everything you could ever want to know about Stephen and then some can be found here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

The mp3s have been taken down:

All for Love & Love for All
It'll End it Tears (I Won't Cry)

Track(s) from & Love for All which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


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