The rough-hewn guitar riffing opening the Lily Vakili Band’s latest single “She Wants What” provides listeners with an early preview of her new EP release Set of Seven. She brings the same rugged spirit we hear in the guitar work to bear on her vocals as well and it communicates its message with an urgency you don’t often hear in modern music. Vakili’s new single, in that sense, has a retro slant – the production and lyrical material are modern in every respect but it is the connection Vakili establishes with her listeners and the material is a throwback to an earlier time far removed from the modern landscape of soulless pop. “She Wants What” is entertaining, to be sure, but never at the expense of making an indelible personal statement.
The statement is every bit as much about how she delivers the lyric as what the words say. The rousing refrain drives the song’s point home harder and in a more conclusive way than anything else, but the messaging is important. It has a rough intelligence, unvarnished by high flown language, and instead communicates directly with its audience. It isn’t difficult to imagine this song is a particularly bracing experience in a live setting and capable of captivating any live crowd. Vakili has vocal presence and personality coming through in this studio recording than performing for a live audience will likely dwarf. I can picture Vakili feeding off a crowd’s energy and taking the song to heights only hinted at here.
She Wants What By Lily Vakili & Ben St Jack She wants what She wants what She wants what she wants She wants what She wants what She wants what she wants She’s at a tractor pull Hot dog in her hand – a mouthful Death metal tats all the
The track features first-class musicianship, but it isn’t designed to be any sort of instrumental showcase. There are gestures in that direction, stinging flares of lead guitar and dynamic touches giving the cut even more power, and the drumming provides a hammer-like heartbeat. The musical attack is heavy, without question, but never artless. “She Wants What” is anchored by straight forward riffing that connects with you on a physical level and has a primal punk rock like energy without ever following a purist path in that respect.
The slightly hypnotic quality of the chorus will stick with listeners even after a single listen. There’s grab life by the throat and shake it for what its worth quality you hear in that portion of the tune that’s impossible not to like – Vakili doesn’t complicate things. She and her band tie themselves tight to the vital spirit of this performance and avoid dressing up things with needless fat and dross. “She Wants What” may be about a lot of things but, in the end, it is about passion – a fact reflected in Vakili’s own background. You’d expect nothing less from her.
This is a perfect selection for Set of Seven’s first single. Lily Vakili, despite the deceptive simplicity of the track, is after transformative moments with her music, never anything disposable. “She Wants What” wants to open your zest for life and fill you with the same conviction it bristles with throughout its two minutes and fifteen seconds running time.