At first, the beat in Lily Vakili Band’s “Facial Recognition Technology” is frustratingly tense, slowly unfurling before us along a blistering riff and Vakili’s voice in an uncompromisingly hot harmony. Without notice, it will shift, tossing us into a rollercoaster-like rhythm that could take the wind out of novice rockers if they’re not careful with the volume knob. Inarguably as much a mood-setter as any of the engaging lyrics here are, grooves are a key element in the cocktail of musicality that is “Facial Recognition Technology,” and along with their melodic counterparts, they make this song a must-listen this April.
The interplay between the bass and the guitar in both acts of this single reflect the tense atmosphere of both the beats and the words marvelously. There’s a lot to be said about the tonality that they lend to the harmony overall, but were it not bound together by the lush vocal provided by Lily Vakili, I’m not convinced it would be quite as affective as it is here. She’s particularly adept at pulling together eclectic components in a song, and in this performance, I think she puts herself in the top tier of her scene (in this regard, at least).
As far as production quality is concerned, I think “Facial Recognition Technology” is a near-perfect middle ground between polish pop prowess and raw, unkempt grunginess. There’s definitely some L7 buried deep within the aesthetics of this band, and even though it isn’t dominant in the construction of the hook in this single, I absolutely think northwest sludge (and anarchistic poeticisms) played a role in the development of Lily Vakili’s sound. She’s got a lot in common with the classic alternative model, but seemingly goes out of her way in this track to establish herself as a modern, provocative indie artist.
These verses have an undeniably political feel, and the emotion behind the narrative they form is definitely authentic. I don’t think you have to read too much into the words to understand why Vakili is trying to impart to her listeners here, but if we were to breakdown any potential enigmas in these lyrics, there would be no shortage of possible interpretations. It’s not easy to make a protest song that could appeal to fans through its cosmetics as much as it does the actual story its telling, but in “Facial Recognition Technology,” Lily Vakili Band make it look all too simple.
If this is just a preview of what’s still to come from Lily Vakili as she brings her group’s music into the next decade, I think her continued rise through the ranks should be expected by both audiences and critics alike. She’s given us plenty of evidence to believe in her brand here, and were any critics not completely convinced of her integrity prior to this release, I think they’re going to feel quite differently after giving “Facial Recognition Technology” a spin. I like where this band is headed, and I seriously doubt I’m the only one who feels this way.
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