After gaining attention with their debut EP, AHS 1005, and the transcendent follow-up single â€œHelp You Ann,â€ Bostonâ€™s Lyres released their first full-length album. The focus remained resolutely on catchy, stripped-down garage rock, with just a hint of psych in the tremelo guitar and whining organ tone. Singer, vocalist and organist JeffÂ â€œMonomanâ€ Conolly wrote just as good as he borrowed, with his new songs that intertwining easily with choice covers of the New Colony Six, Kinks, Mickey and the Clean Cuts, and Pete Bestâ€™s post-Beatles â€œThe Way I Feel About You.â€ Richard Harteâ€™s production gives the instruments fidelity and definition without forsaking the bandâ€™s garage roots, and Conollyâ€™s voice found its spot in the mix.
Rick Coraccioâ€™s bass is more of a throb than a rhythm, which leaves drummer Paul Murphy plenty of room for his snare and cymbals. Guitarist Danny McCormack offers up economical guitar solos that make the most of his Dynalectronâ€™s unusual tone, and Conollyâ€™s organ lurks behind most of the songs with high-pitched notes. Best of all, the music is relentless in its danceable rock â€˜nâ€™ roll grooves, and Conolly proves himself a tireless frontman. It was hard to top the wicked guitar riff of â€œHelp You Ann,â€ but the chorus of the opening â€œDonâ€™t Give It Up Nowâ€ is nearly as hypnotic.
The album has been reissued several times with varying bonuses. The original U.S. vinyl had ten tracks, augmented on the promo by â€œI Really Want You Right Now.â€ The French New Rose label issued a vinyl LP that added eight bonuses (four from the AHS 1005 EP, three from the â€œSomeone Who’ll Treat You Right Nowâ€ EP and a cover of Pete Bestâ€™s â€œIâ€™ll Try Anywayâ€). Matador issued a CD that added nine bonuses (five session tracks, three from the â€œSomeone Who’ll Treat You Right Nowâ€ EP and the Pete Best cover). And here, Ace of Hearts (in conjunction with Munster) includes only the five bonus session tracks offered on the Matador release.
The session tracks include covers of the Kinks (â€œNever Met a Girl Like Youâ€), Wailers (â€œSwing Shiftâ€) and Roy Lee Johnson (â€œBusy Bodyâ€) by way of the Jolly Green Giants. The two originals, â€œHow Could Have I Done All These Thingsâ€ and â€œTrying Just to Please With Youâ€ are solid rockers, and fit the general vibe of the album. For collectors whoâ€™ve picked up AHS 1005 separately, the out-of-print Matador CD provides the best coverage; but if you canâ€™t find that, this Ace of Hearts / Munster reissue is the ticket. And if you canâ€™t find either for sale here, try direct from Ace of Hearts Records. [Â©2019 Hyperbolium]