Friday, February 24, 2012
By DAVID MALACHOWSKI
ARTIST: Lily Sparks
ALBUM: “Cooper Cobra”
Superb singer Niamh (pronounced Neev) Hyland hails from Drumshambo, Ireland, but she sounds more like the streets of New York or the highways of Jersey than Dublin. Her band Lily Sparks is an up-and-coming old-school rock band from New York City that will turn your head around with a sound that’s more Max’s Kansas City than CBGB.
What that means is that though band members still have a gritty rawness to them, there also coexists an abundance of clever hooks and melody. The band also features guitar ace KG Noble, bassist extraordinaire Margaret La Bombard, Nick Rage (guitar) and Mick Fumento (drums). Make no mistake, Hyland’s spectacular, emotive voice really triggers emotion. Classically trained, in voice (and piano) her instrument is impressive, powerful and intoxicating.
“Walk Away” is raw and raunchy. Yet, it’s catchy and has more hooks than a tackle box, like late ‘70s/early ‘80s rock before it went, well, away. “Where Are We Are Today” rocks hard, with a fiery solo by KG Noble, “The Girls” is a heartfelt ode to the Big Apple and the dreams that go with it. The highly charged “Stars” sounds like it could have been pulled from a KISS album, where Hyland sings about stars, guitars and muscle cars with verve while the dark, slow and nasty, with “Let’s Go” finds Hyland simply wailing.
This is a rock record the likes of which hasn’t been heard in a long while, recalling when bands played and wrote and sang without relying on Autotune, pyro and props. The explosive Niamh Hyland and band are certainly ones to watch.
Lily Sparks will perform at Keegan Ales, 20 Saint James St., Kingston, on Saturday. Admission is free. Visit http://www.reverbnation.com/lilysparks.
David Malachowski is a guitarist, producer and freelance journalist living in Woodstock. The Freeman seeks CDs by local artists or artists appearing locally for review. Please send all CDs (please, no CD-Rs or demo CDs) to Daily Freeman c/o Preview, 79 Hurley Avenue, Kingston, N.Y. 12401