I love it when something turns up, out of the blue, when you have no expectations, and it turns out to be surprising and invigorating. We Are The Lilies is like that.
Apparently centred around David Sztanke (formerly of a group called Tahiti Boy) and his French compadres, The Lilies goes one step further by drafting in Sergio Dias from legendary Brazilian group Os Mutantes, and somehow even convinced Iggy Pop and Jane Birkin (Serge Gainsbourg’s old flame) to guest.
We Are The Lilies is fun-filled, playful, and packed with the kind of musical/sociological humour some might recall from early 10cc recordings. Unlike that group, however, these guys allow themselves to be a little bit rough around the edges, to grow a bit of Gallic stubble.
It won’t appeal to sad sacks who think that music’s only role is to provide a sonic counselling service for their love woes. No, this is music of levity and humour. ‘Meninas De Paris’, for instance, features nerdy-sounding guys recounting their sensitivity towards women. It’s a song for sissies, and I like it a lot. “You are my conception of eternity”, they sing in ‘We’re Gonna Live Forever’, and whether it’s tongue in cheek or totally honest, its fruity harmonies bring a smile to the mouth.
The only time Dias’ Brazilian influence is really apparent is on the last song, ‘Oh Bahia’. Os Mutantes fans may be disappointed in his lack of dominance on the project, but I’m sure they will appreciate The Lilies’ aesthetic, which is similarly eclectic while remaining crammed with personality.
The highlight for many will be Iggy Pop’s cameo appearance on ‘Why?’ When the Ig asks “Why do the French smoke?” (and other seemingly random questions) the falsetto chorus answers “I don’t know!”, and in the middle he does one of his low narrations, accompanied by a group of amateur harmonisers. It’s hilarious.
We Are The Lilies may be a minor album in the grand scheme of things, but it’s rare to come across a project that exhibits such a sense of unalloyed fun.
Music = 4
Sound = 3