Lillye is a powerful, female-fronted rock band from Sydney who are releasing their new album Evolve on May 18 2018. Imagine if Led Zeppelin and Heart had a child that had been raised on Halestorm, Skunk Anansie and Sevendust – well this is what you get.
Schooled in singing, dance & theatre, vocalist Virginia Lillye (Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, Grease & Fame) is no ordinary rock singer. During her time in Europe while undertaking the work in those great musicals above, Virginia spent her spare time with her true calling. She fronted numerous bands at corporate events which paid pretty well. However it was a chance encounter while back in Sydney that was the birth of Lillye. Recording at Christian Lauria’s (bass) Machine Man Studios, Virginia blew Christian away with her hard-edged style. Christian and Matt Ellis (guitar) just happened to be looking to start a new band at the time and so was Virginia. Add Bennet Livingstone (drums) to the mix and the band kicked off writing new material almost immediately. This led to the release of the Lillye EP in 2014.
The band hasn’t looked back since, playing shows all across Australia’s East Coast including Brewtality and Wallapalooza festivals. They have won numerous local and international music awards, including a Global Music Award, twice being nominated for an Australian Independent Music Award.
While garnering accolade and playing a multitude of live shows, the band has recorded Evolve. The band recorded most of the tracks at Machine Men Studios with the drum tracks being laid down at REC Studios with engineer Tom Garnett (Wolfmother). The album was mixed by Shane Edwards (Northlane, Thy Art is Murder) at Karma Sound Studios and finally mastered by Keith Nagasaki at Nagasaki Studios in the US.
The album is high energy and covers a good wide expanse of rock genre. High tempo tracks abound. Virginia’s voice, in the vein of Chrissy Amphlett (Divinyls) and Lzzy Hale (Halestorm), is ably backed by some great riffs and grooving beats driven out of the rhythm section.
A number of tracks have good hooks that keep me interested. The best of them is the first track and single. Run. It could be a reflection of the pace of the track when it kicks off with a galloping beat and a nice little riff before we are introduced to the powerful voice of Virginia Lillye. The track lays down what you are going to get from this band out on the table straight away, raw passion and energy.
Fire has a slowed down pace, but has a great riff and chorus that abounds with feeling. It Is What It Was is another slower track but has a really funky riff and enables Virginia to really stretch her vocal range thoughout. This one again has quite a Lzzy Hale feel to it.
Take On Me (not the A-Ha version!) is a good solid rocker that runs a killer riff and shows off Virginia’s vocal power. Surrender has some interesting licks and is driven well by the rhythm section. Through My Soul rounds out the album nicely with a good amount of powerful lyrics and solid riffs.
Overall I find the album solid enough and think that the songs should translate nicely to the live arena. I will be able to put this to the test as Lillye play in Canberra on May 25.
Evolve will be released through Eclipse Records on May 18 2018.
In The End
It Is What It Was
Take On Me
Grass Is Greener
Through My Soul