Lilac Time Lilac 6

Calling on members of Barenaked Ladies to support the resurrection of cult British band Lilac Time should come as no surprise to fans of Stephen Duffy. Since collaborating on several songs with BNL front-man Steven Page, Duffy (a founding member of Duran Duran) has beat rush hour out of town and made a pop album miles ahead of many of his peers. Opening with the lilting "Dance Out of the Shadows," Duffy's syncopated vocal phrasing guides songs like "My Forest Brown" and the riff-driven "Jeans and Summer" to sweetness. His highly personal, at times self-reflexive, lyrics are cushioned with sweeping sounds of pedal steel, accordion, female harmony vocals and electric guitars. Like Belle and Sebastian (themselves professed Duffy fans), the Lilac Time use major keys and breezy pop sensibilities to create imaginative, quirky and memorable songs. With XTC-calibre arrangements and textures, and at once subtle and singable melodies, this is a rare record with few blemishes and no filler. (Cooking Vinyl)