Forgotten series: Lyres – On Fyre (1984; 2012 reissue)

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Founded in 1979, Lyres not only spearheaded the 1960s garage rock revival of the following decade, but the Boston, Massachusetts combo also remained kingpins of the scene. Still active to this day, the band changes musicians faster than a baby changes diapers. But lead singer and organist Jeff Conolly has always been the ringleader of Lyres.

Here on the reissue of the band’s first full-length album On Fyre, which originally appeared on the Ace of Hearts label in 1984, we’re bombarded with a brash blast of great grooves from the past. Crossing the bluesy backbone of the Pretty Things with the three-chord punch of Question Mark and the Mysterians, attended by a Sonics styled wall of noise, an amazingly authentic sound is brandished.

Driven by hurried rhythms and a sincere sense of desperation, tracks like “Don’t Give It Up Now,” “I Really Want You Right Now” and “Help You Ann” rank as ultimate expressions of the genre Lyres so fabulously excel in, while the Kinks are affectionately referenced on covers of “Tired Of Waiting” and “Love Me Till The Sun Shines” that are rehashed in a charmingly battered and tattered fashion. Set to a nervous beat, “Soapy” wiggles and wobbles with reckless energy, where a fuzzy treatment of the New Colony Six’s “I Confess” wheels in as another top-tier cut included on the record.

Hoarse and coarse vocals, fused with the ever present wheezing and whining of a classic Vox organ and rough and rugged guitar riffs furnish the songs with remarkably genuine tones and inflections. If you didn’t know any better, you would think these raw and bubbly tunes are samplings from “Pebbles” and “Back From The Grave” albums.

Deadly determined to keep the spirit of garage rock alive and well, Lyres certainly accomplished their mission with On Fyre (Munster Records), which holds ground as one of the most influential efforts of the movement.

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Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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