Most casual garage fans will recognize Lyres (it’s debated whether or not ‘the’ actually belongs in the name — to put this digression short, I’m probably going to alternate between names myself) for their incredible debut album “On Fyre.” Full of explosive punk spirit with just enough of leadman Jeff Connolly’s Farfisa to connect the band to the far gone 60s but without sounding like some hack tribute group. Likewise, it gave the world what may be their longest lasting contribution to rock, the single “Help You Ann,” which essentially marked the beginning of the first garage revival era in the mid-80s.
“Lyres Lyres” expands on the band’s dynamic by being less about energy, and instead sublimating those forces toward tighter songwriting and attitude. “On Fyre” was full of traditional rockers, mixing between Connolly’s originals and a choice selection of covers that showed off the band’s deep affection for even the deeper tracks, and here the band, more or less, directs their firepower at R&B. Tracks full of life and humor like “She Pays the Rent” and “Teach Me to Forget You” stand as classics to any modern garage band who tends to err more on the side of being more retrospective. All the while, opener “Not Looking Back” has the same kind of punch that propels “Help You Ann,” but with a more nuanced approach to songwriting (read: a heavy, big-beat drum intro that works overtime and stays there). Meanwhile, closing track “Stormy” flips the main theme of “Hall of the Mountain King” into a hectic spin while the band busies themselves with a fun jazz-like rhythm.
It’s a tremendous sophomore album that is anything but, and shows the incredible prowess of this band from Boston. Though, since it’s release, recording efforts by the band slowed down tremendously, releasing mixed-bag albums combining old songs (both classic and ‘new’ versions along the way), few new songs, live tracks, and a veritable catalog of cover songs ranging from the known to the obscure. However, for the two mostly original LP releases, the Lyres have shown enough talent and grit that has made them legends in their own right, and that’s good enough.