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