Falling Uphill

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Lillix is the musical equivalent of a vintage rock & roll T-shirt, recycled and re-tailored to fit the smooth contours of a fashion model's figure. Guitarist Tasha Ray-Evin, bassist Louise Burns, keyboardist Lacey-Lee Evin, and drummer Kim Urhahn are accomplished musicians, and the sisters Evin and Burns each own strong singing voices. But no matter how many times they drop impressive classic rock names like Queen, Supertramp, or even Thin Lizzy in answer to interviewers' questions of influence, there's no getting around the fact that their Maverick debut, Falling Uphill, is a soft-focus yawner. In actuality, Lillix's closest reference is likely the lush, radio-ready pop of the Bangles. While Prince famously penned the Bangles' breakthrough single, "Manic Monday," Lillix's "It's About Time" benefits from the red-hot writing and production skills of the Matrix -- Scott Spock, Lauren Christy, and Graham Edwards -- who are responsible for the Avril Lavigne calling cards "Complicated" and "SK8ER Boi." Both bands even feature a sisterly duo at their core. There's nothing wrong with radio-friendly. "It's About Time" and the Glen Ballard-helmed "24/7" are tasty, hooky slices of pop pecan pie. But each song hides the band's obvious talent behind syrupy harmonies and studio tinkering obviously designed to make Lillix sound as similar as possible to what's already proven bankable. When they do have a chance to turn up the amps, like during "Quicksand" or "Because," Lillix can resemble a fizzy, doe-eyed Weezer. But the drippy "Invisible," a TV-jingle version of the Romantics' "What I Like About You," and the confused alt-rock of "Sick" cloud up Lillix's identity. Their photos, cover art, and marketing desperately want to paint the young quartet as a real rock & roll band. But it's the music that matters, and behind its fa├žade, Falling Uphill simply falls flat.

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