Yup. That’s right. If you haven’t heard that term before you’ll start using it soon after hearing this record by the Lyres. It’s called Lyres On Fyre. It’s their first LP and it came out on the Boston-based Ace of Hearts label. My friend Jeff Wilson turned me on to this record in 1986 and it changed my life. It’s a rock 'n’ roll molotov cocktail designed to attack your eardrums. And I’m no fan of hyperbole.
There’s a formula at work here. It works like this: Vox organ + tremelo guitar + caveman drums and thundering bass = blistering garage rock. It’s orchestrated by a wild man named Jeff Conolly. Jeff Conolly is Mono Man. Mono Man is The Lyres. That’s not to say the other guys in the band are just going along for the ride.
If you’ve heard this record you know that it’s Mono Man’s Vox Continental organ that propels this fiery brand of face-melting rock. But the other guys are important. Very important. They are Danny McCormack on the aforementioned heavily tremeloed guitar. Paul Murphy on drums. And Rick Coraccio on bass guitar. They create a musical melange for the ages. Trust me.
The A-Side comes at you like a fat man in a famine. It’s a full-on fury beginning with Don’t Give It Up Now. It crushes you and then it’s over. Then into my favorite (and your new favorite) - Help You Ann. Then things chill a little (for The Lyres) for a couple tracks - I Confess, I’m Tellin’ You Girl, Love Me Till The Sun Shines - before ending on I Really Want You Right Now (supposedly on the import New Rose LP pressing only - but I dispute that). The B-Side kicks off with a hypnotic rendition of The Kinks’ Tired Of Waiting, followed by Dolly, Soapy, The Way I Feel About You and ending on Not Like The Other One. All incendiary in their own way.
I think it was on a live version of Soapy (at The Gallery in Normal, IL) that I witnessed Mono Man pounding away on an empty vodka bottle with a huge screwdriver. The venue was a little bit larger than a British phone box with no stage whatsoever. The band were inches from our faces. The crowd was packed in which means we were dangerously close to Mono Man’s improvised glass percussion experiment. Those closest to the stage were nervous in the extreme. Tension. Amplification. Sweat. A great place to collect pheromones if you think about it. The vodka bottle exploded all over the place and so did The Lyres. It was awesome.
Do yourself a favor. Get some guts. Then go buy this record. Or compact disc. It’s been reissued a few times and there are versions with tons of bonus tracks.
For weirdos only: Conventional wisdom holds that the domestically released Ace Of Hearts pressing of this album is lacking the cut I Really Want You Right Now. Supposedly you can only find this track on the French import version of the LP on New Rose Records (I own two colored vinyl pressings of this myself). The copy pictured above seems to be an Ace Of Hearts American pressing with this song at the end of Side A and shoved inside a New Rose Records French import jacket. Strange, I know. Let me know if you have any information on this.