…..a strange way to promote an album of eclectic popular music?
A lonely cow standing wistfully in a field in Cambridgeshire.
Odd, you might think, and in that context their is nothing run of the mill about Lizard Brain.
They have not come off of the Cowell conveyor belt. They are not being lauded as the next big thing on 6Music by Lamacq or Robinson (soon to be rectified I hope with a quick tram journey down to the Quays to shove some memory sticks into the eager paws of some DJs). They are probably, at this stage only going to get airplay around Cambridge and in some select radio shows in the German Shepherd orbit. They probably won’t get on Joolz Hootenanny although they damn well ought to be on their as they wipe the floor with the tired old industry hacks that populate that show.
I am hoping this review gets them some more exposure as they deserve it.
They are a remarkably talented set of musicians, writers and producers who have delivered a third album which bears comparison with Godley, Creme, Gouldman and Stewart at their peak. I first heard them in session on Dave Hammond’s Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105 and you can hear the band talking about this release on a recent edition of that show.
The new album “Stray” is pure pop music, UK style, at it’s best. It transcends trends and fads, it has been painstakingly produced over many months and honed to the point of perfection. It covers many genres but holds together as a cohesive collection. It is joyous, thoughtful, sad and in some cases a little disturbing.
Lizard Brain are:
Richard Jones: songs, keys, bass, vox, arrangements, production
Mark Fleet: songs, keys, arrangements, production
David Carter: songs, guitars, vox, bass, flute, sax, arrangements, production
Tony Jenkins: songs, vox, guitars, arrangements
The 12 track collection finds the band delivering a heady cocktail of beautifully crafted and diverse songs. It was recorded in the purpose-built Lizard Lounge studio in Lode, Cambridge from late 2016 to late 2018. Album production was led by Richard and supported by Mark and David. Following on from their earlier albums Hold The Mind (2012) and That Has A Nice Ring To It (2016), the songs on the new collection emerged from a series of writing sessions using different combinations of band members whose wide musical influences resulted an album rich with variety.
The album kicks off with the Moroder drenched alt-disco groove of “Lost In Sound”, switches to the impassioned rock of “Gannets” and then swerves into Jamaican grooves with “Am I Just A Name Now”. In these three opening tracks the group evidence their skill and competence in delivering lyrically strong, well produced, quality material.
What follows is a varied menu of twangy psych pop, driving rock, Northern Soul, elegiac balladry, and an epic anthemic closer “Freedom”. Throughout there are strong melodies and hooks that will leave you going back for repeated listens.
If you like well crafted, intelligent and melodic popular music in the best UK tradition then you need to listen to this album. Straight into the albums of the year list for 2019!
You can hear the album on the Aural Delights Radio Show over the next few weeks or you can listen below.
More information about the band here