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Capades a Creative, Quirky Journey from Obi Best

Michelle Fordice | Thursday, January 22, 2009

Whether or not you will appreciate “Capades,” by Obi Best and featuring singer Alex Lilly, depends on your tolerance for synthesizers. Lilly’s spacey voice and whimsical lyrics and arrangement can be fun, but unless you’ve just woken up from the 1980s it may take a bit of time to adjust.

Alex Lilly began her career as a backup singer for The Bird and the Bee, an indie-pop musical duo whose songs you may have caught on the soundtracks for “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Sex and the City: The Movie,” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.” “Capades” is Lilly’s first solo effort and she is now touring as the opening act for The Bird and the Bee.

The sound of Obi Best is a pop layering of piano, voice, synthesizer, and drum machine which has been compared to bands like Stereolab, Her Space Holiday, Feist and Au Revoir Simone.

“Nothing Can Come Between Us,” starts of well with a catchy piano melody line, but it never grows out of its initial bounce as Lilly sings, “You know what I mean, but nothing can come between us now.”

“Who Loves You Now,” steps back from the gratingly bright opening track and delves into more creative lyrics, opening with the ironic, “Every word I say is true, I’ll say anything to be close to you,” and continuing with the quirky and fun imagery, “I know there will be times to run around like a bird with its head cut off…to flop around like a fish whose air we’re drinkin’…to dream of once again breathing.”

“Green and White Stripes,” stands out on the album as a flowing ballad that successfully combines the elements of Lilly’s voice, the band’s different sound, and the lyric. Opening with, “Lovely laughter sitting on a wall, its love…you can read between the lines, but its only notes and dots and lines/It’s only music,” it has a strong build and manages to be both unique and listenable.

“It’s Because of People Like You,” is a humorous story of dealing with the kind of people that leave nasty notes on your car about how you parked. It has a fun beat that will get you moving as it declares, “Nothing in the way I park could warrant such a cold remark,” and “Now really I’m sure you hate people as much as I do/But try to write things that are true.”

“Origami” is the only song on the album that brings in voices distinct from Lilly’s with a deep male chorus line throughout. It plays with fifth chords and sings, “Can I love you this way? Can it be true? Paper cranes and daisies say I love you.”

“Swedish Boy” is fun in it oddity as it croons, “It seems to me you live in a made up country…Its something you would make up when you were high/It’s something the Gods would make while they’re dreamin’/It’s something you would make up when you were five.” (If you find you like the song, Social Science Studios has opened a competition to design the music video for it.)

The lyric of “Within These Forrest Walls” make it stand out, with, “In my garden/Don’t you worry/Can’t you see that I’m freer than you’ll ever be/They say that I can leave to seek a life out there but the world is not for me/It dangles hidden keys/It’s the biggest fantasy.”

“Days of Decadence,” closes the album with a lighter, refreshing swing and, “I’ll just linger back instead/This is not my time/I see some greaser kids out looking for me/I wish I could rewind and find those dusty days waitin’ there for me/Days of decadence are ringin’ through me.”

Some of the songs on the album are less successful. “What It’s Not” sounds a bit whiney at times and “Blooms Like Flowers” lingers on for too long without offering much internal change. There is little instant access to this album; Obi Best demand that you listen a few times to get into their songs. But it offers a unique sound and quirky lyrics that make it worth the investment. “Capades” will be released in stores February 24 but it is all ready available digitally on stores like iTunes.