Singing like willowy girls whilst dazzling with some space age pop, Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo were certainly right on the money when they named their band Lilies On Mars. Having also added to their growing reputation with a song named track of the week on Simon Raymonde’s Amazing Radio show and earning heaps of praise for ‘Dot To Dot’, these are exciting times for the duo who spend their time recording in both England and Italy.
Early impressions suggest Lush fronting Stereolab thanks to the spooked-out girl vocals and retro-futurist arrangements but they actually end up sounding more ethereal than both on the chillingly atmospheric opener ‘See You Sun’. Great invention is at the heart of this record as ‘Dream Of Bees’ glistens in its shimmering 1960’s pop setting, ‘No Way’ profits from vintage keyboards and ‘SIDE ABCDE’ all present the kind of experimental, electronic pop which shows these ladies aren’t just another dream pop/shoegazer act (even though they could fulfil this task and still make a very good album).
Strong songs appear at the end of the album too, such as the warped keyboards and eerie pop of ‘Impossible Child’ whilst ‘The First 3 Years’ unexpectedly comes across as the moody cousin of Sugababes’ ‘Overload’. That said, although the vocals are impressive enough on a technical level, they do little to break out from their blank, emotionless default setting which makes ‘Oceanic Landscape’ a worthy centrpiece, here veteran singer/songwriter Franco Battiato’s contribution exudes heartache as Masia and Cristofalo provide a subtly majestic and wistful backdrop
Whereas some revel in the nostalgia in vintage dream pop, Lilies On Mars are pushing further with their ambition, bringing in new influences and genres into their already complex songs. Not everything works perfectly but Masia and Cristofalo largely succeed in their request to offer lunar pop melodies and on just ideas alone Lilies On Mars are an exciting band to keep your eyes on.
Lush, Stereolab, Monocle, The Concretes