UNDER-APPRECIATED ROCK BAND OF THE MONTH FOR JUNE 2010: WATERLILLIES
Readers of this little series of monthly articles (if there are any) might figure that I can only talk about bands from the Pleistocene Era, and that this is surely not true of any recent rock artists. In that they would be mistaken: WATERLILLIES (note the double "L") was the duo of producer Ray Carroll and vocalist Sandra Jill Alikas-St. Thomas who released two albums in 1991 and 1994. They were certainly not without success: "Tempted", the title track from their second album reached #4 on the Billboard' Hot Dance/Club Play Charts; then, remix meister Junior Vasquez did his thing on a slower tune from that album, "Never Get Enough", and his version made it to #1 on that chart for the week of April 1, 1995. There is a little more on this band now than there was when I first considered them for a monthly piece (by the way, the first time I managed to let the 1st of the month slip by without getting it published), but there is still only a stub in both Wikipedia and Allmusic now. A diligent search in Allmusic will even bring up a fairly lengthy though back-handed review (by Rick Anderson) of Tempted; while allowing that they "subversive[ly]" go beyond the typical electronic formula and granting the album four stars, the review closes by calling the album "a borderline essential album of basically inconsequential music". One fun fact about the band is that, as far as I know, the first album, Envoluptuosity includes the only example of the word "fornicate" being used in musical lyrics. Beyond the limited information that is given on the two albums (only the first album even has photographs), I have been able to find out next to nothing about the band, except that they have a lot of fans in the Internet who are rather incensed at their being ignored so thoroughly.
My own theory would be that their musical style – electronic dance music – is itself under-appreciated at this point in time, the same way that glam rock, hip-hop, reggae, punk rock, garage rock, and rock and roll music as a whole were under-appreciated in earlier times. More's the pity, since the albums are structured with individual songs and not merely as thumping aural wallpaper for blasting over loudspeakers. Besides having a really long name, Sandra Jill Alikas-St. Thomas is a trained vocalist, and her style reminds me of a more sultry and ethereal Annie Lennox. Not that all electronica bands live in the shadows: Largely on the strength of the huge success of remix versions of "Missing", also originally released in 1994, Everything but the Girl gained considerable mainstream success. I have even seen that band credited with merging electronica with dance music (most of us could be excused for never considering those to be two separate musical styles). If and when electronica gets the mainstream respect it deserves, these two albums by Waterlillies might be remembered as early examples of musicians in the genre stretching out beyond its utilitarian beginnings.
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Flashback: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for June 2010 – WATERLILLIES
This was my first "modern" band, since they dated from the early 1990's. At least it seemed that way to me at the time; now though, their first album Envoluptuosity was released over 20 years ago. It is one of my shortest articles, since I could find out virtually nothing about them.
As with my first UARB, Beast, I had a tough time finding any videos on YouTube; but there are several. The edgy "Junior Vasquez Deep Factory Mix" of "Tempted" (which runs over 10 minutes) and both the "Apple Crumble Mix" and "The 303 Mix" of "Never Get Enough" are out there if you want them, but they don't really sound much like the band to me. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, that is the extent of the songs from the second album, Tempted.
However, there is an actual music video (jerky and grainy though it may be) of a great song from their first album called "Tired of You"; check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5_5nZYN_NM . Another good one is "Sunshine Like You" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVi5SlyPMIw&feature=related .
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Photo Gallery: The Under-Appreciated Rock Band of the Month for June 2010 – WATERLILLIES
Here is the first CD by Waterlillies, Envoluptuosity:
This is the second album, Tempted:
This maxi-single cover of "Tempted" is much more attractive:
Very few photographs of bandmembers Sandra Jill Alikas-St. Thomas and Ray Carroll are available; here are a few:
This is a promotional shot that also shows the band:
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It was about a year ago that I started my series on Under-Appreciated Rock Bands of the Month (including one Under-Appreciated Rock Artist of the Month), to celebrate the more obscure albums and bands in my record collection that had not yet been profiled in Wikipedia. The list shows a wide-ranging list of types of music I think:
December 2009 – BEAST, 1960’s hippie-flavored rock band (2 albums)
January 2010 – WENDY WALDMAN, 1970’s singer-songwriter (6 albums)
February 2010 – CYRUS ERIE, 1960’s garage rock band (single)
March 2010 – BANG, 1970’s hard rock band (4 albums)
April 2010 – THE BREAKAWAYS, 1970’s power pop rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
May 2010 – THE NOT QUITE, 1980’s psychedelic revival rock band (3 albums)
June 2010 – WATERLILLIES, 1990’s electronica rock band (2 albums)
July 2010 – THE EYES, 1970’s punk rock band (several singles)
August 2010 – QUEEN ANNE’S LACE, 1960’s pop-psychedelic rock band (1 album)
September 2010 – THE STILLROVEN, 1960’s garage rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
October 2010 – THE PILTDOWN MEN, 1960’s instrumental rock band (several singles; retrospective album)
November 2010 – SLOVENLY, 1980’s indie rock band (5 albums)
(Year 1 Review)