Share DMZ RADIO DEMOS + LYRES LIVE AT CANTONES 1982 - DMZ/Lyres (Munster Records/Fuse)
Was a time in the early '80s when I was convinced Boston's Lyres were the bee's knees, the second coming and garage rock royalty rolled into one. Monoman could do no wrong. "Don't Give It Up Now", the lead track from "On Fyre", was my nomination for new national anthem with "Help You Ann" a close second. So having this CD land, parlaying a blazing live performance on the back of a dozen radio tracks from their immediate forebears, DMZ, land is an epiphany.
DMZ was one of those late '70s-cusp-of-the-non-happening-US-punk-breakthrough bands who should have been huge. A poorly produced (thanks Flo and Eddie) major label album never fairly represented them and for the most part we've had to make do with some fiery Bomp! label demos and a cruddy-sounding posthumous live disc to write their story. Until now.
There's a rehearsal room vibe about "Radio Demos" and that's not a bad thing. Monoman's vocals are up front and endearingly rough. There's all sort of leakage but, who gives a fuck? This is savagely pure, white knuckle rock and roll.
"Till The End Of The Day" is more than ragged than a wino's Sunday best but scores a telling bullseye. "Lift Up Your Hood" resonates like the best Dolls tunes and "Glad All Over" pumps. And you get those three in succession. By the time the Groovies' saw-edged "Teenage Head" skulks in you'll be in garage heaven. The closing "Search and Destroy" is almost an anti-climax.
The Lyres' Cantones set has been issued on vinyl by Muntser too, so you gets your choices and you takes your chances. The vocals are buried in the murky mix somewhat, but not to the point of the recording being unlistenable. Appended to the DMZ on the CD, it's in great company. As good as their later garage soul days were, this captures the Lyres before the release of "On Fyre" and at the peak of their organ-and-fuzz powers. LIke DMZ, the Lyres had impeccable taste in covers and played other people's songs freely. Their take on the Sonics' "Cinderella" will convince you they indeed had the goods.
"Don't Give It Up Now" shimmers and shimmies in possibly hotter form than the studio version, while the stabbing organ and guitar of "Come On Up" should move you quicker than being in the front row of a GG Allin show while he's having a laxative overdose. The closing cover of "Dirty Robber" and the encore "Journey To Thyme" is a killer combo that would have left them wanting more.
It's a little rough around the gills but ultimately it's one gilt-edged live effort. It should be easy enough to procure in Europe but if you're in Australia you have no excuses as the enliightened folk at Fuse have imported it. - The Barman
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