A good many people have become aware of Alex Lilly as backing vocalist for the renowned neo/retro Pop outfit The Bird and the Bee, but that role is merely a sideline compared to her front-of-the-stage duties for her own combo, Obi Best.
Lilly is clearly a talent to be reckoned with; the multi-instrumentalist wrote, produced or co-produced every song on Obi Best’s debut, Capades, out next Tuesday, and the group is already inspiring favorable comparisons to the likes of Her Space Holiday, Stereolab and Au Revoir Simone.
Lilly and Obi Best live up to those stellar accolades on Capades, as they seamlessly weave together chirpy dream Pop, ephemeral Electronica, propulsive Indie Rock and expansive Synth Pop, like a Vulcan mind meld of The Cardigans, The Cranberries, Feist and ARS, co-produced by Brian Eno and Todd Rundgren with equal appreciation for quirk and accessibility.
Drifting through it all is Lilly’s exquisitely nuanced wordplay, sometimes matching the languid pace of the music, sometimes playing on the tension between musical suggestion and lyrical intent (take “I cut life with an Exacto knife” from the Eno/Feist swoon of “Blooms Like Flowers” or “It’s easy to be sleazy holding a cherry red electric guitar” from the whispery Jazz/Pop of “Days of Decadence”). From the Burt Bacharach-conducts-the-Cardigans lilt of “Nothing Can Come Between Us” and the chilly Synth Pop embrace of “Who Loves You Now” to the Toddtronic Feist lilt of “Green and White Stripes” and the Jane Siberry-tinged ’60s Farfisa Pop of “It’s Because of People Like You,” Lilly and Obi Best smile at their influences and introduce them to each other in front of the turntables at their retro hip Pop cocktail party of the mind.
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