"this duo embodies a sound that certainly stands out"

To fans of the genre, the term “Progressive Rock” may have a variable meaning: be it the incorporation of unconventional stylistic influences, or extreme technical proficiency and complex musical structures. The music of Las Vegas natives Backhouse Lily would fall under the latter of the two. Their music may not consist of trailblazing solo sections, odd time-signatures that change every four bars (in fact, time remains quite straightforward throughout, with the exception of “Pivotal”), or song lengths of over three minutes. However this duo embodies a sound that certainly stands out, combining ambient elements comparable to early Porcupine Tree records and the heavy, rock-solid rhythmic feel of Tool and nineties-to-present-day Rush.

Adami brings to their sound numerous other creative contributions, such as melodic upper-range leads that sound either synth-like or convincingly similar to a distorted electric guitar, and the use of multi-tracking and echo/reverb effects to create soundscapes of rather ethereal atmosphere. This results in tonally colorful layers in contrast to the main backbone of rhythm between the bass and drums. Drummer Bill Maihen does an excellent job in tracking tight and consistent drums and percussions, which nicely complement and interact with the syncopated bass lines. The ultimate result is inevitable head bobbing for the listener.

The sound of the album itself, despite the heavy use of effects processing, is quite raw sounding, yet not in the sense of sounding unfinished, but simply with more of a genuine “live” sound that has its charm towards most listeners of classic blues-rock. The drum sound is raw, yet punchy without being obnoxious. Overall, the album sound is comparable that of more recent Rush albums.


All in all, “No Apologies” is a stellar release, bridging colorful ambience and catchy, heavy rock grooves into a something that is definitely worth a listen. Backhouse Lily have nothing to apologize for.


24 HOUR MUSIC

"a helluva lot more fun (and miles smarter) than, say, Primus. Highly recommended."

When the drum-n-bass subgenre came on the scene in the 90s, I didn’t pay much attention. It didn’t move me. But clearly some very interesting things can be done with a rhythm section if the players are good enough, and if the inspiration is there. Back in the 90s Ben Folds Five‘s Robert Sledge showed that electric bass could credibly be used as a lead instrument without being overly gimmicky. But Backhouse Lily turns both of those aforementioned concepts on their heads: yes, they’re drum-n-bass, but their approach is a sort of instrumental progressive rock, not miles away from Russian Circles but with a much more commercial flavor. Like the work of no wave auteur Glenn Branca, Backhouse Lily’s music often suggests the presence of instruments that simply aren’t there. What is there is bass-led music that’s a helluva lot more fun (and miles smarter) than, say, Primus. Highly recommended.

 

BILL KOPP'S MUSIC BLOG

"band has something with much replay value on their hands"

There isn't a harmonica in sight with “Dark Harmonic” but there is plenty of dark and experimental ambiance that takes you on a ride of post modern rock sounds that should certainly delight the ears. “Dark Harmonic” is purely instrumental with Carl Adami on bass and Bill Maihen on the drums. The duo crafts something that can be probably be best compared to as a mix of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Foals yet they somehow have that Massive Attack feel to them. Their music alone could inspire a variety of imagery depending on where your mind wants to take you. “Dark Harmonic” is the type of song you expect to play during a film screening at SXS or Toronto. Either way the Las Vegas band has something with much replay value on their hands along with their other tracks like “Discoma” and “Phat”.

 

Gabrielle Azi / SONG LADDER

"wonderful combination of jam bands, art rock, and metal"

Without possessing ALL of the elements of the modern post-rock subscene (such as four minute long builds or bizarre, dissonant chord patterns), the relatively short "Dark Hamonic" is a wonderful track that swells, thunders, peaks, and occasionally melts your face off with Backhouse Lily's unique recipe for psychedelic rock music. To me, they feel like some strange and wonderful combination of jam bands, art rock, and metal. This would be a great show to see live, especially once the drugs start flowing. Whoops, did I just say that?

 

Nat Allister / SONG LADDER

 

"Impressively the sound this couple creates is far reaching and diverse"

When I tell you that the Backhouse Lily duo of Carl Adami and Bill Maihen play bass and drums respectively, you may well begin to wonder if we here at SoT have begun to turn our hand to other less expected genres such as drum 'n' bass. Admittedly there's an obvious connection between d'n'b and the BL guys, but the unusual mix of dancey beats, indie pop rushes and a progressive outlook cause this pair to sound reasonably dissimilar to any one particular band or genre. In itself that is a good thing.

 

Impressively the sound this couple creates is far reaching and diverse, while the splashes of melodic colour Adami brings through his bass musings does have you scouring the paltry, if beautifully presented accompanying information to see if anyone is credited with six string guitar, synth or keyboards. They aren't and on that score you can only marvel at the skill and awareness this four string maestro possesses as he brings a huge range of focuses and depths to this release. Maihen too is skilled on his chosen instrument, cracking out varied yet polished beats from song to song, the production and mix (both by Adami) adding considerable clarity and bite to this side of things too.

 

SEA OF TRANQUILITY

"instrumentals that sound unlike anything else"

Here’s a full-bloomed debut from duo Carl Adami (bass) and Bill Maihen (drums), specializing in atmospheric, rockin’ instrumentals that sound unlike anything else. There are familiar influences—Tool’s Lovecraftian menace, The Police’s pop-prog minimalism, Rush’s sci-flying grandeur. But Lily’s lovely “Dark Harmonic,” with Adami’s volume-swelling waves and Maihen’s funky foundation, is entirely unique. The driving, riff-layered “Push” will push you along the highway, while tricky time-signatured “Under the Radar” will keep you awake en route to Burning Man.

 

VEGAS SEVEN MAGAZINE