The Lillywhite Sessions by Ryley Walker

Dave Matthews Band recorded an album with producer Steve Lillywhite which was scrapped at the label’s behest. Now, this bit confuses me - the press release here describe the album in terms I would not match with Dave Matthews Band such as ‘art rock’ and ‘masterpiece’. However, they are terms I can associate with Ryley Walker who has tried his hand at re-recording the album, The Lillywhite Sessions. Although the Dave Matthews Band version was scrapped, some tracks showed up on their 2002 album Busted Stuff. From hearing those tracks I think they might sound rather fine in the hands of Ryley Walker. LP and CD on Dead Oceans.

Vinyl Double LP £18.99 DOC170LP

Black vinyl 2LP on Dead Oceans.

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CD £9.99 DOC170CD

CD on Dead Oceans.

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Limited Vinyl Double LP £19.49 DOC170LP-C2

Limited edition brown vinyl 2LP on Dead Oceans.

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The Lillywhite Sessions by Ryley Walker
1 review. Write a review for us »
6/10 Clinton 20 November 2018

Back in 2005 the driver of the Dave Matthews tour bus emptied his septic tank over the Chicago River, drenching passengers on an architectural boat tour with 800 pounds of what was described as 'liquid human waste'. 

Really, this is all the Dave Matthews Band should be remembered for but Ryley Walker has decided it's high time to give them some kind of cultural re-evaluation by covering their unreleased 'Lillywhite Sessions' in it's entirety. It's the sort of thing an artist like Walker can do after a few successful albums under his belt and it's obvious the material was very important to Walker during his teenage years. He should be applauded for his anything goes, unashamed love for music (he even recently admitted to liking Coldplay). 

The album takes Matthews blueprint and interprets the songs in a very Chicago-ian math rock style with lots of twisting guitars and intricate arrangements. Tracks like Big Eyed Fish is like listening to early Tortoise with lyrics by David Brent. Despite Walker's best intentions, the songs are still too straightforward for a man whose deafman Glance album showed all kinds of prog wandering. His arrangements here lack the light and shade of his original work and songs seem to have been written and recorded whilst everyone involved wore boxing gloves. 

A strange album in that it's both not as bad as you might think nor something that could be compared favourably with other records in the Ryley Walker back catalogue. Had I been in charge at Dead Oceans at the moment on conception I'd have advised Walker to of course indulge his teenage fantasies all he likes it but perhaps  - like the original album  - they should be best kept on the shelf.    



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