In 1981, while many of us were still discovering the Nuggets compilation and Pebbles series, Jeff Conolly had already worked backwards and ingested garage rockâ€™s roots. Breaking out of Bostonâ€™s rock scene with this debut four-song EP, Lyres had both the muscle and melodicism of â€˜60s hitmakers like the Standells, Sonics, Chocolate Watchband and Bostonâ€™s Remains. As good as was the EP (and the concluding cover of the Hangmenâ€™s â€œWhat a Girl Canâ€™t Doâ€ is really, really good), the 1983 follow-up single, â€œHelp You Ann,â€ was even better. With an unforgettable guitar riff and a hypnotic lyric hook on the flip â€œI Really Want You Right Now,â€ this could easily have been a regional hit that broke through to the national charts, had it only been released in 1965.
Filling out this disc are seven tracks recorded in the summer of 1980, before the band laid down the EP. Included are early versions of all four EP tracks and the subsequent single â€œShe Pays the Rent.â€ The band hadnâ€™t fully locked into their garage groove yet, with the slower tempo and muddier production of â€œHigh on Yourselfâ€ sounding more like hard soul, and â€œBuried Aliveâ€ leaning more to punk at that point. The vocals have also yet to find the pocket, standing startlingly out front of â€œWhat a Girl Canâ€™t Do.â€ Two lost titles includeÂ â€œAinâ€™t Going Nowhereâ€ and the rockabilly-styled â€œ100 CCâ€™s (Pure Thrust).â€ The demos, EP and post-EP single provide a good look at Lyresâ€™ ramp-up to greatness (all thatâ€™s missing is the 1979 single single â€œHow Do You Know?â€ b/w â€œDonâ€™t Give It Up Nowâ€). If you canâ€™t find it for sale here, try direct from Ace of Hearts Records. [Â©2019 Hyperbolium