Lilys Precollection

What a weird band. Four years after confounding fans with the occasionally catchy yet ultimately uneven The 3 Way, Kurt Heasley and co. return with another full-length testament to creative inconsistency. It’s difficult to comprehend this is the same band that minted 1996’s Better Can’t Make Your Life Better — an album that remains one of the most solid melodic guitar-pop documents of the post-Kinks era. Of course, that was back when Thom Monahan and Aaron Sperske were in the band, before they split for the more sublime pastures of the Pernice Brothers and Beachwood Sparks, respectively. With the exception of the disc’s best track, "Will My Lord Be Gardening,” this latest batch of tunes can be separated into two categories: songs that sound like works in progress, and songs that appear to have all their parts but come off as though performed live for the first time by a band that hasn’t yet rehearsed. Heasley may be afraid of repeating things that worked in the past, but he’s certainly not put off by repetition as a creative device, which he proves over and over and over again here. Compounded with bouts of seemingly improvised stream-of-consciousness lyrics and a handful of decidedly novice performances (check out the one-finger, single-note organ action on "Meditations on Speed,” for instance), it all makes for a tiresome and woefully uninspiring listening experience. (Manifesto)