Lythion is hard to classify and it took a few listens to really grow on me, but it did. Their press materials talk about a performance-art show, but the CD by itself is interesting enough. “Kate Bush crossed with Brian Eno” might hint at what to expect here, but it wouldn’t convey the full range of musical idioms blended by this duo of sultry and versatile vocalist Ilyana Kadushin and multi-instrumentalist/programmer James Harrell. From acoustic soul/r&b (“Fly My Mind”) to mellow Pink Floyd (“Traveling”) to lounge (“Champagne”), there’s a lot to chew on here.
But they’re no dabblers. Every musical language they draw on serves the quality and meaning of the song in question.
A few songs stand out as more memorable than the rest: the acoustic-soul trip “Fly My Mind,” the Bowie-channeling “Hussy,” and especially the weird and outrageous metal-acoustic-rap-marching band amalgam called “Cocky Prick”:
I wonder if we took away
All cocky pricks that make us pay.
For all their problems we must suffer?
I guess you want to make it rougher
Would he turn into disillusion man or really boy
And then we’d see the truth underneath his toys
Oh no could it be the cocky prick really wants to be free
Oh no could it be cocky prick’s just no good for me
Though the smart lyrics treat sex, spirituality and perception in serious and funny ways, a lot of the music’s appeal is in the spell cast by Kadushin’s silky vocals, the clever arrangements behind them and the meticulous production.