If music were represented by places, then Neil Petty, a.k.a. Neiliyo’s, latest EP would be the Montauk Yacht Club meets ’80s South Beach. On Aquinnah, Austin’s self-proclaimed electro-funktionaire hits moments of a sort of musical Northeast-prep class with classic and precise instrumentals. These moments are thoroughly beaten down with neon-streaked, ’80s crudeness with a classic nostalgia all its own.
The general motif of the record revolves around time spent in Martha’s Vineyard and New York. Though not explicitly stated, it can probably be inferred that the EP is based around the events in Petty’s actual life with his fiance, notable Austin photographer Annie Ray. Overall, it makes for a fairly compelling narrative and gives Neiliyo a tighter lyrical focus than his previous releases People Skills and Runnin’ #Errndz, which runs the gamut of topics from how much Neiliyo “love[s] making music,” to “chillin’ at the beach with the sand dollars.”
Aquinnah‘s standout is probably the song “Aquinnah” itself. It has a more washed-out, chillwave sound than anything else on the album. Yet, he doesn’t simply follow the current chillwave hype either; Neiliyo’s version sounds less refined and slightly cheesier. As a result, he ends up capturing the essence of the ‘80s far better than Com Truise and Toro Y Moi. Whether or not you like this is at your discretion, however, it’s certainly more authentic.
The juxtaposition of bold genres put Neiliyo’s efforts in a realm of near comedic absurdity that still manages to be extremely endearing. At some point in the four tracks that make up the EP, it becomes evident that Neiliyo is one audacious guy. Anyone that’s ever seen him live knows this. No matter how small the number of people in the crowd, Neiliyo still delivers a full performance, complete with rolling around on the ground and sporadic, but on-beat jumping around and off the stage. Anyone who saw the show where he played in a bathtub knows this. It takes some serious brashness to hold electric equipment in a tub of water and even more to vigorously dance around in said tub.
One of the best aspects of Aquinnah is that it’s just made by some guy who really wants to have fun. Neil Petty carries a life outside of Neiliyo, but still manages to just let loose and do something interesting and goofy.
Printed on, Tuesday February 14, 2012 as: Local psychedelic artist's bold, lyrically-focused EP releases