Stargazer Lilies

Occabot

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The Stargazer Lilies have produced a handful of fantastically gauzy shoegaze records, but they've always been more powerful in concert, as anyone who's seem them can attest. Close friend and frequent tourmate Tobacco decided to bring out the intensity of their sound, so he signed them to Rad Cult and produced their third proper album. Rather than join the Lilies in the studio and direct the proceedings, however, he gave the group total freedom to record the album their way, then he took the tapes and essentially turned them inside out (hence the title). While the band's sun-baked panoramic sound is well intact, Tobacco has roughed things up and made it all sound grimier, heavier, and weirder. The gales of noisy guitars are massive and corroded, and smudgy tape effects twist the vocals off-balance, but like most other records Tobacco puts his hands on, it all feels cohesive, even while sounding blasted out of its gourd. It's decidedly more of a bad-vibe record than previous Lilies releases, however -- even though the songs themselves generally seem optimistic, Tobacco brings out their evil qualities. He adds an extra shade of rust to the melancholy longing of "Living Work of Art," and makes the groggy classic rock riffs of "Foreverless" sound almost nightmarish. Yet songs like "Dizzying Heights" are unmistakably triumphant, as curdled and sooty as they may appear. The album likely would've sounded impressive in its original state, but Tobacco had the right idea. The only question left is how this astonishing record is going to translate live.

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