CMJ 98 / Delancey Street Bowery Ballroom / 21st Street Tramps

Admired, but never really loved, [B]Vini Reilly[/B] spent the '80s existing out of time....

ADMIRED, BUT NEVER REALLY loved, Vini Reilly spent the ’80s existing out of time. Seemingly overly concerned with technique in his search beyond normal musical horizons, Reilly was appreciated by fellow musicians but sold sod-all records.

Now 45 years old, and judging by this album’s title, increasingly aware of his own mortality, Reilly is still searching. His pursuit of perfection is admirable but it brings its pitfalls: every carefully placed piece, every lovingly polished sound seems to drain a little of the soul from the songs, until ‘Time Was Gigantic…’ resembles a masterpiece of style over content. It sounds so sweet; Reilly‘s shimmering guitar spinning merry cartwheels behind Eley Rudge‘s angelic Harriet Wheeler warble, or basking lazily in pools of ambient calm. It’s as smooth as porcelain, as mannered as a lily pond and as forgettable as your last breath.

In decades to come, musicians will no doubt continue to admire Reilly‘s style and technique. Beyond that, sadly, he seems destined to remain unloved.