Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Brotherhood of Lizards - Lizardland - 1995


Dedicated Anglophiles' search for the quintessential British pop album shouldn't overlook the (so far) one and only outing from the Brotherhood of Lizards, a duo featuring ex-Cleaners From Venus Martin Newell and bassist/multi-instrumentalist Nelson. Recorded a step or two up from the Cleaners' rustic four-track catalog, Lizardland is soaked through with the cozy ambience of merry olde England, summoning up images of teatime, gardens and "misty chimneys smoking in the rain" via a collection of charming, chiming guitar pop that nods to obvious forefathers like the Beatles and Kinks, as well as later practitioners such as XTC. The delightful "The Happening Guy" has ba-ba-ba backing vocals straight out the '60s hit parade, while "The World Strikes One" is filled with sharp observations about ordinary folks, in the manner of Ray Davies himself. More of the same is available on the witty "Love the Anglican Way" and "Market Day," and there's even a droning number, "Rusty Iron Sun," that recalls great faux-Indian moments like "Norwegian Wood" and "Fancy." Newell's vision does outstrip his Spartan studio accessories: it would have been nice to have heard the songs with a live drummer, and the sound quality, while certainly acceptable, lacks that extra bit of punch common to higher-budget productions. But such concerns can't hold down songs as good as these. It was Newell's finest work at the time of its release, and that statement still holds true more than a decade later. -AMG

If you like Lizardland" get it here!




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