Song In My Head #22: “Returns Every Morning” by Lilys

When Lilys released Better Can’t Make Your Life Better  in 1996, critics spent a lot of time playing “Spot The Influence.” Bewildered by Kurt Heasley’s turn toward classic pop and startled by his vocal resemblance to Ray Davies, some wrote it off as a mere Kinks pastiche. I consider the album to be one of the great underrated records of the past twenty years, and I’m not the only one to think so. (Carl Newman, famed for his songwriting with the New Pornographers and Zumpano, once admitted in an interview that his default warmup during any soundcheck is “Shovel Into Spade Kit” from this very Lilys album.) While hooks abound, it’s the off-kilter structure that makes these songs memorable.

Take the closing track “Returns Every Morning.” The vocal portion rivals Guided By Voices for brevity—one verse, one chorus. It’s sandwiched between a lengthy psychedelia-infused intro and a prolonged yet weirdly addictive guitar-and-drum fadeout. Yet, it all fits beautifully somehow.

I discovered this acoustic version the other day, which manages to lilt and swing at once. Does a commercial release exist? I hope so…

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