THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE: Lily Of The Valley

Look, I know it’s tough finding a great band name nowadays. Anything with a “the” at the start looks lame, and all the other great band names have been taken. You know how deflated I felt when I discovered a band named Weed Diamond already existed? If I had any musical talent, I’d be crushed. It’s tough finding a great moniker.

But what happens when two bands, with completely different sounds, end up using the same name? A crime, that’s what. Japan boasts two musical outfits calling themselves Lily Of The Valley, and I can’t stand for it. I have no real things to be up in arms about, so why not this? Let’s take a look at both Lily’s and see who deserves the title more.

IN THIS CORNER

Lily Of The Valley

From: Tokyo

Self-Described As: Electronica/Shoegaze/Pop

Opinion: “Shoegaze” seems to be the big word tied to this Tokyo duo, but that’s a little misleading. Sure, a handful of their songs (especially there older material) swirl about themselves. See the aptly named “Slowmotion” or the seven-minute dream-out “Letter,” which owes a lot to Cocteau Twins. But filing them away next to Ride and Galaxie 500 would be lazy. “Balloon” thrusts ahead on a beat appropriate for a Chris Brown joint, adding in some melancholy horns. Lead singer Nozomi’s voice sounds scrambled beneath it all, blending in with everything else. “IOK-1” plays a similar stunt, replacing horns with twee whistle and being a smidgen more quiet. These songs sound less like My Bloody Valentine and more like A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Lily Of The Valley layers pop and dance elements on top of shoegaze to create technicolor sounds. And just like that Philadelphia group’s 2009 album Ashes Grammar, the results are absolutely gorgeous.

And In This Corner

Lily Of The Valley

From: Osaka (!)

Self-Described As: Nothing listed. Edgy!

Opinion: First off, this band apparently popped out of the same high school fellow all-girl rock group SCANDAL did. What are they serving those kids for lunch? The SCANDAL comparisons don’t end there, though: both bands play upbeat J-Rock armed with very catchy choruses. Lily’s “MAKE ME HAPPY” bounces along, almost hyperactively, complete with a charming “ah ha, ah ha” breakdown. If you like one, you’ll like the other. Yet that doesn’t tell the whole tale. The outfit’s best songs allow the vocals to stand out. “騙された” features nice singing over the skippy verses, but absolutely opens up on the chorus, where it seems like the singing could just trail off into nothing. Even better is the band’s latest single for their soon-to-be-released mini-album. “いつの日か” is a bright rock-pop song powered by some excellent lead vocal work and double tracking. It sounds like Asobi Seksu’s last album. Lily Of The Valley are a relatively young band, so a song this good points to a very promising future.

Verdict – I’m siding with the first Lily Of The Valley (the shoegazey one) because they’ve been around longer and have a more distinct sound at this point. The other Lily Of The Valley have one dynamite single and a few songs too similar to SCANDAL. They have incredible potential, but for now aren’t nearly as prolific as the other Lily Of The Valley. Cheer up, Valley Lily isn’t too bad a name

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