LĪVI

Hard Rock • Latvia
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Līvi was a legendary Latvian rock band from Liepāja, Latvia founded in 1976 by Ēriks Ķiģelis and Juris Pavītols. They started out as a pop rock band but gradually shifted towards a heavier, western influenced hard rock. This guitar driven sound accompanied by lyrics written by some of the greatest Latvian poets became the band's trademark and also one of the major reasons why they found little success in non-Latvian speaking countries.

Since their formative years the band has gone through many lineup changes, most significantly after the death of their leader Ēriks Ķiģelis in 1985. Since then Ainars Virga has been on the forefront of Līvi creative output. To this day they have released eight studio albums and two live recordings.
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LĪVI Iedomu pilsēta album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Iedomu pilsēta
Hard Rock 1986

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LĪVI Iedomu pilsēta

Album · 1986 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
One of the first hard rock and heavy metal bands to emerge in the Baltic nation of Latvia while it was still a component of the USSR, LĪVI formed as far back as 1976 and throughout many lineup changes stuck it out until 2010 but has since reformed in 2017 and continues to perform to this day. The band founded by Ēriks Ķiģelis and Juris Pavītols in Liepāja, began as a novel pop rock band and gigged throughout the late 70s and early 80s trying to find a style that really clicked but never hit upon anything until Ainars Virga joined the band in 1986 and steered LĪVI into the world of harder rock and heavy metal.

The entire period from 76-85 produced no recordings and it wasn’t until LĪVI shifted focus that their fortunes would begin to change. Inspired by 70s bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and the Scorpions, Virga was instrumental in bringing the heavier styles accompanied by guitar solos. The band was also instrumental in making the Latvian language relevant in modern music and in 1986 released its first album LEDOMU PILSĒTA (City of Imagination) and although original member Eriks ĶiĶelis played a great role in bringing it to fruition, he left before it was released.

In many ways a typical sounding hard rock album from the 1970s, LEDOMU PILSĒTA featured a rather diverse set of tracks ranging from the crossover prog instrumental opening number “Mazais sapnītis” which featured a stellar keyboard solo to the second in line “Saulgriežu rīts” which suddenly jumped into 80s metal with a beautiful guitar solo to add that authentic touch. The third track “Uz lietiem” suddenly adopts a reggae beat and the title track sounding more like a new wave act such as Missing Persons or The Cure only with a more standard rock vocal style completely in the Latvian language, a true source of pride for anyone of Latvian heritage. The band quickly became the nation’s top dog and even found itself touring Europe especially after the fall of the USSR which would come soon after this album was released.

While virtually unknown outside of the Baltic States region or perhaps anyone old enough to remember the USSR, LĪVI was one of the hottest acts during the final years of the Soviet Union and remained so throughout the 1990s. While the tracks are diverse in how they’re presented, they are all extremely melodic and capture that instant ear worm quality of music from classic rock radio stations. Any of the tracks on here could easily be slipped in between the Anglo world’s classic rock songs and nobody would probably even notice except for the language differences of course. In fact classic rock radio has become so stale it would be very cool if they were to incorporate musical groups from other parts of the world to spice things up a bit but that’s a completely different story!

While LĪVI would continue on to compose some of the very best known Latvian hard rock songs of the nation’s history, this debut album was a very important first step that exposed them to the region at large and due to the poetic lyrics and melodic guitar solos, was an instant hit. One of the band’s secrets is it knew how to embed some of the Latvian folk melodies into its heavier rock potpourri. While this debut is much more in the hard rock with prog influences camp, starting with its self-titled second album it would become a much heavier band more in par with Russia’s Aria and the heavy metal scene of the West. Still though even though this is the odd album out of the band’s canon, it’s chock filled with ingenious classic rock and hard rock tracks that are instantly lovable. It almost takes you to the time and place it was created!

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