【review/rate】lil / into the lil’

released 2006, delfi sound.

It’s no secret that I’m probably the most prominent fan of the dance-pop group LIL, (originally stylized as Lil’ during their indie days) comprised of the world class songstress Ucio (now known as Yushio) and effortlessly creative producer Tsuge.  Their discography is simply infallible, six albums reaching highs that my freakishly massive music library rarely match.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing every album LIL put out, as a love letter to my one of my favorite musical groups of all time.  

“Into the Lil'” is one half of a duology and serves as the group’s indies debut LP.  Released in late 2006 with follow up album “Close to the Lil'” following shortly after in February ’07, these two albums are fantastic entry points into LIL’s legacy.

Beginning with the soothing, ambient soundscape “Intro”, we are then immediately introduced to Ucio’s fantastic vocals as “Parade” kicks the LP off proper. A six and a half minute uptempo, “Parade” commands your attention with its bumping synthline, powerful chorus and beautiful layering in the arrangement.  The middle eight is a superb moment, its melody so pleasurable to the ears.

“chameleon” is a funkier dance cut, that also manages to sleekly fuse a bubbly, disco-esque chorus into its structure, and “mica” is reminiscent of “Parade” but veers further into lounge territory.  These two songs in particular show off Ucio’s knack for crafting impeccable choruses, without a doubt the moments in each song that I found the strongest.  Another note, I adore the progression in mica’s post chorus and outro, so soothing.

One of the most unique cuts on the album, “Time of Heaven” is an ethereal journey.  It’s arrangement is what I can only describe as a fairytale in audio form.  Hell, even the lyrics reference Alice in Wonderland in places!  Get this, there’s a breakdown (in what was basically a midtempo lullaby styled track?!) a little after the two minute mark, and it’s just so genius that it sends goosebumps down my spine every time.  This is a song that must be experienced with great headphones, props to Tsuge’s masterful arrangement.

“Diagram1” is an instrumental interlude, a moment for Tsuge to take center stage and flash his chops for you.  It’s actually long enough to be considered a full track honestly, and it does a well enough job of keeping you interested so as not to warrant a skip.  I guess that would also make it the danciest track of the album, which is what “Into the Lil'” was marketed as oddly enough.

The biggest slap in the face comes in the form of “Devil’s daily game”, it’s just so unlike anything else on the album, an aggressively groovy club track full of flavor.  It’s also the blueprint for some of LIL’s most anthemic dance tracks that i’ll be touching on soon!

“Into with you” is the final full length offering in the context of the album, sharing lounge sensibilities with “chameleon” but spicing the formula up with a very classic house styled structure.  The chorus is charming, ucio’s vocals soar and the arrangement is bouncy enough to get you dancing.  Definitely an awesome closer to this first album, and a sign of things to come.

The ending portion of the album is comprised of “Outro”, a reprise of the opening intro with some additional sounds and an overall slower pace, and a bonus Kaskade remix of “Your Affection”.  It’s a serviceable remix, but i’m still confused by the choice to include it on this album, when the original mix of the song was not featured and would not be available until the following album two months later.

Overall, “Into the Lil'” is a triumphant debut, it establishes ucio has a vocal force to be reckoned with, and Tsuge’s ingenuity shines through on most of the record. I do think that it must be listened to in tandem with its sister album for the full experience, which i’ll be covering in the following days.

  1. intro (into version)
  2. Parade ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. chameleon ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. mica ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Time of heaven ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. diagram1 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  7. Devil’s daily game ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Into with you ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. outro (into version)
  10. Your affection (Kaskade mix) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Must-Listen : Devil’s daily game, Time of heaven, Parade
Skip : Your affection (Kaskade mix)
save this mix until after you hear the original.

Purchase “Into the Lil” on Amazon and iTunes (Japan only).
See you next time!

💫💫💫

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