Lily Vakili has led a near cinematic life. She has lived in Central America and other far flung regions of the world, followed her wayward Muse wherever it has called, experienced the joys of love and motherhood, and has tirelessly given of herself to causes bigger than herself. She has savored life’s riches at every opportunity. You can hear that relentless pursuit of possibility in each second of the two minute and fifteen second single “She Wants What” from her new EP release Set of Seven. The follow-up to her 2018 release Oh Alright is off to a great start based on this track alone, but it would merit our attention even if it were a standalone single release. Some might label the New Jersey based singer/songwriter’s work as alternative rock, but this track is cut much more in a hard /blues rock mold. She’s more than up to the challenge of matching its sonic muscle.
Her throat-bursting delivery links up well with the song’s guitar. Taken as a package, Vakili’s singing and the six string work sound dredged up from somewhere deep within, where fashions and fads have no place and, instead, hard-won statements of purpose are the order of the day. You can’t fake this sort of approach. Anyone with clear ears and a long history of listening to music will sniff out the fakes. Vakili’s phrasing and sense of dramatic potential are full bloodied and uncompromising. You cannot help but be bowled over by the way she brings this performance to life and keeps hammering away at listeners until she is sure they believe every word escaping her lips. She, likewise, knows how to sing with a band rather than treating this as a glorified solo vehicle. Despite the outfit being labeled the “Lily Vakili Band”, everyone here is on equal footing.
It’s with good reason. A first class cadre of musicians brings as much commitment to the recording as she does and the inflamed passion of their playing never risks recklessness. Instead, they infuse “She Wants What” with gravel-laden soul and a fierce brawling spirit that never backs down from the moment. It isn’t a track certain to overwhelming listeners however. Everything is orchestrated for maximum effect while never pandering to specific audience. Vakili and her band members are making the music they want to make and they are talented enough to prod us into following them wherever they go.
She hasn’t been working in earnest at a musical career for very long, but even a single hearing of this track will convince you Vakili has found her path. She has a natural and commanding talent for garnering your attention thanks to her obvious love for what she does and a mammoth voice to back it up. “She Wants What” will hit the vast majority of listeners on a gut level but it has a lot of cunning driving it as well – there are few rock artists working today who can boast such well-rounded vision and skill.
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