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Lost Lyres Estudio Rare Tracks Lost Lyres Foto: Jesús Alcaraz
  • Lost Lyres (lp)-1 Lost Lyres (lp)-2
    LP MR 328
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I can’t be the only one who has long thought that it must’ve been galling for some of the outright talents of the time, such as say Boston’s ace combo Lyres, to be looking on while some of their peers started to reap the benefits that success beyond cult band status could bring. Not that being superstars or anything would’ve necessarily made Lyres any better than they already were, of course, but it may have changed the listening habits of some modern record buyers back in the early-to-mid 80s. Lyres made some of the period’s greatest records and undertook European tours which, many years down the line, would be spoken of in terms of a legendary experience. But the public at large weren’t getting it and, among other factors, this surely helped drive a wedge into the group’s internal mechanism. Jeff Conolly: “We had to replace members of the group regularly because this new professional music grind was ‘not fun’... In addition there was the music-turned-monster grind of ‘new product needed’ and for me that meant I had to ‘be-a-genius’ and write new stuff. And it needed to be very good or especially better than the stuff we already had laid out... I ain’t no genius songwriter but I was at training the new group members.”

Perhaps one reason why Lyres didn’t set the world’s charts alight, and enjoy the kind of success some other groups attained, was that they weren’t quite as easy to pigeon-hole as some. It’s also true that Jeff Conolly refused to let the group be molded by anyone who would try and turn them into something which they didn’t feel real and honest about. “I allow for one thing about the group DMZ/Lyres,” Conolly states matter of factly, “no manager – self managed.” And whether any given record release was a success or not, it wasn’t going to alter the fact that here was a group with a righteously original take on old school beat-rock and, regardless, they would do their own thing. Jeff’s unique songwriting craft would also continue to propel them forward. “I don’t know which came first, the song, music, title or just fear of having to come up with something,” he reveals today, “but that’s where the ‘record collecting’ could once-in-a-while be of some help, certain things to keep your mind functioning and to ‘be interested’ in... The thing that you had always loved which had now turned into this ‘job’ nitemare...”

And what of others who had gone before who had also tried to make a decent fist of things largely on their own terms? “Some of these tune-smiths can really crank them out,” reasons Conolly, “but even a Ray Davies will break down on his own and then what? Turn the corner and ‘go soft’ with nostalgia or ‘re-invent the wheel’ with whatever.” One can easily surmise that this would not be something that Jeff Conolly would be happy to go along with at all.

Fans of Lyres both old and new will be delighted to learn that some of the best of the group’s early magic has been finely sifted and duly selected for inclusion on this here very collection which, hopefully, you are digging pretty big on right around now!

Lenny Helsing

 

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