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LABEL: Maverick Records RELEASE DATE: August 29, 2006 GENRE: Pop-Rock
// review by Jeff

If you call it "chick-rock", they'll dig their heels in you.

Lillix -- the girl band you thought would just disappear into thin air after their 2003 debut "Falling Uphill". (EDITOR'S NOTE FROM 2012: "Wait, where are they now?") Yes, that western Canadian quartet of irksome ladies who performed, among other things, the theme song to the now-defunct WB sitcom "What I Like About You", seemed to be destined for bargain bin fame. But such is apparently not the case for these girls. Now, in 2006, they are back -- little older, a little wiser, and sporting a new drummer! Tasha-Ray, Lacey-Lee, Louise, and newcomer Alicia have stepped back into the spotlight, looking a little more gothic but hey, at least they can pull it off credibly. And they mean business with their sophomore album, "Inside The Hollow". I can't say exactly what's in the hollow, but I can predict that if there's a party in there, it's playing Lillix's fun brand of femme rock.

While the songs on Lillix's first album were written when the girls were younger (around the time when they were thirteen to fifteen years old), this new tracklist shows a more mature writing style. They're now in their early twenties, so this should not be unexpected. Of course, they're singing about how the guys in their lives aren't exactly treating them the way they ought to be treated; the songs pretty much follow along that vein of interest. That's fine, except for the fact that, as a male listener, I hope they realize that maybe some of their problems stem from their own personalities and not just the stereotypical jerky boyfriend. Just some food for thought with oregano.

Blackout, the first track, is somewhat laidback except for the chorus, which bursts with their electric guitar riffs and a barrage of unusual-sounding minor key selections. Does it work? Yes, it does work. Thanks for asking. Can I pinpoint what the song's about exactly? No, I can't do that. No thanks for asking. Yet it's a decent introduction to the album, as now you can be semi-prepared for the rest of the Lillix offerings, such as "Little Things", which ranks pretty darn high on my list of favourite tracks on this album. Synthesizer use has been upped for this song, although at times it's difficult to discern that. I doubt that the piano they used was real though, so dip that notion into the cauldron. Little Things is an upbeat number, with a very catchy chorus (heck, even the verses themselves are worth humming while riding your unicycle down the street). But here's something to consider: three of the girls sing, and they all sound pretty similar. Who's singing when? I suppose they're suffering from "All Saints Syndrome".

Next on the roster is Every Girl. This is interesting: apparently, 'every girl's the same with number one / the first guy'. I recommend being the second guy. But enough about that; this song's very quick, and if you blink twice (with your...ears?) then you'll miss the subtle nuances of this song. All the instrumentation feels like it's been given mild steroids, but hey, that's nifty enough. Sweet Temptation (Hollow) was the first (and so far, the only) single off this album, and the simplistic video is decent eye candy for me. This was the reason why I wanted to buy this album (and buy it, I did), but over time, this song has developed into just an average puddle of Lillix music. Yes, it's kinda catchy and it will incite happy dancing and gyrating at a party, but it has become clear that there are superior tracks on this album.

You just can't help but love the cheesy synth action on Doughnut. It actually fits this particular song, contrasting well with the guitar work. Lacey-Lee Evin, keyboardist/vocalist, probably put in some overtime on this one. There was no need to swear during the bridge though. However, I have yet to determine the reasoning behind the title; there's no frosting or round objects in this song. I'm going to have to sit down and seriously ponder this little quandary that I've wandered into...

*several hours later...*

Ummm...

*several days later...*

...alright. I can't figure it out.

But what I do know is that the following song is also good! Hoorah! Wishing Well sounds vaguely familiar, similar to some of those acoustic pop songs from the late '90s. It feels like it just belongs on a different girl group's album, but I just can't put my finger on it. In any case, it's a surprisingly swallowable piece of pop pie, and Tasha-Ray Evin's composition skills are worthy of the attention of all here! Hoorah again!

Just Like You starts out sounding like an awful demo recorded in a basement on a cassette tape, but I guess that was on purpose. This is also a decent song, but nothing has truly roped me in about this one. I'm not saying necessarily that this is a filler track, but it just doesn't have the pizazz of the previous six. But this little ditty is still worth a listen, even if it's just to show off the pretty vocals of Lacey-Lee... unless she's not the one singing... er... yeah.

Even the legendary songwriter Billy Steinberg couldn't stay away from Lillix; he's assisted in the writing of Got Off Easy, and even though it's a nice catchy pop-rock tune, the chorus bugs me a little bit, especially with this absolutely BRILLIANTLY written line: 'When will you ever see / That I got, and I got, and I got, and I got off easy / That I got, and I got, and I got, and I got off easy'. Steinberg, you're fired for this lyrical travesty! Go back to writing love ballads for JoJo. Hopefully, the Turpentine can wipe the sins of the syllables off of this album. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the exciting song I was hoping for. It's just a so-so attempt at best; perhaps THIS is the filler track I was seeking out...

Tempo Change is a very strange track, mainly because it's essentially two tracks in one. It starts out sounding like it's going to be the sequel to "Tomorrow" from their first album, but when we get to the chorus, the song speeds up until it's over, and then the second verse is slower. It just doesn't sound very smooth with its transitions, and neither tempo selection improves a somewhat dull song in any noticeable way. Poor Little Girl is a short track with a synth fade-in and a storyline about a sad girl. Composed by Louise Burns (guitarist/vocalist), this song is very straightforward with no stand-out qualities.. or so says I.

At this point, I've been feeling the filler blues, and so I was hoping that the album would go out with a bang. And ka-boom is how the CD ends! Stay is just the track that I had been waiting for. This is a slow song, but features some of the most intimate vocals that you'll hear on this entire album! It is a breathtaking journey in and of itself, revealing the inner vulnerabilities of Tasha-Ray, especially when she sings 'I am weakening...' It may not necessarily transform a rugby team into a tear-stained puddle of sappy goo, but it still touches the heart. Granted, it eventually turns into a louder, more rock-oriented piece, but it fits the tone of the album anyway, meshing well with the soft vocals in between rock-out sessions. A top-notch track and a fantastic way to end the album.

As you may have noticed, I started out in high spirits with the first collection of songs, then eventually dove into a pool of less-than-stellar songs, followed by a solid extreme high at the end. And that's the case with this CD: it has a definite dip in quality and overall catchiness of tracks. I'm not saying that any of the tracks are unlistenable by any means, no. What I am getting at is that they will probably end up being more like background music; you may just pay less attention to the tracks that I deemed dull or that I even dared to use the F-word for (Filler!) Nevertheless, this is still a great album that will look good on Lillix's resumé. "Inside The Hollow" is solid proof that girls can rock and look jam good while doing it.


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