Crossing that divide between art-rock and party music, The Lovely Eggs dayglo-psych work on I Am Moron is anything but "Still Second Rate." It's first class.
It’s hard to say that Lancaster’s The Lovely Eggs have a cult following when you count the fans the duo can boast; Iggy Pop is a fan, as is Huw Stephens, Steve Lamacq and a number of other luminaries within the music press.
It’s just that their output is that which should by all rights fall under that “cult” monicker – an output none more so than on their latest album, I Am Moron.
Yep. It’s called I Am Moron. Whether that’s an indictment given some of the themes on the album (overblown music videos, inflated self-aggrandizing, Brexit) or just the band being playful is up for some ambiguity.
I’d like to think it’s more the playfulness of the group. That’s the tongue-in-cheek nature of The Lovely Eggs, with their psychedelic, often eccentric rock and roll. Not taking themselves overtly seriously because ultimately music should be fun, right?
David Fridman takes production duties once again for the Lancaster group (which, despite being born in Lancashire myself, I don’t see the Twin Peaks references…), and given that Fridman’s CV charts The Flaming Lips, MGMT and Tame Impala as artists he’s worked with, is a pretty apt choice given the non-conformist approach each of those bands at times have.
Staunchly DIY (by their own admission), and non-plussed about not having large budgets to blow on things like glamorous music videos, it has yet to deride from the energy the band excuse in each release that has graced us, the listening public. In fact, there’s an argument that it has only acted to accentuate the many, many positives from the group.
Given that vocalist/guitarist Holly Ross will happily confess in a one-sheet that the video for “Still Second Rate”, which reminds me of often-lauded-now-disbanded Southampton art-rockers Help She Can’t Swim, is “[…] a masterclass in how to not spend £20,000 on making a music video[…]” because “So many bands blow so much wedge on making videos it’s a bit obscene” is a testament to substance over style.
Not that the band haven’t any style. It’s just this organic, natural charisma rather than this faux (nee; bullshit) flair cultivated by stylists et al.
The attitude is perhaps one of the big reasons I have gravitated towards The Lovely Eggs; sonically they aren’t so much trailblazers (psych-rock isn’t a new genre by any means) yet are mavericks in an over-indulgent scene. They’re more Art-Rock than psychedelic rock; there always seems to be a measured approach to their technique.
Much like art methodology, there is always a reassessment of their work contained on I Am Moron. “I Wanna” is more of the indie-rock ilk than, say, the quasi-shoegazing on “You Can Go Now” or the pavement stomping, driving riff of “Insect Repellant.”
And lyrically, sometimes it is goofy, but not every song needs to have a message. It is, as mentioned, meant to be fun – for many, The Ramones was an exercise in big, dumb, punk fun and for others, Devo were these weird, “geeky” new-wavers.
Although I think Devo are cool and certainly not geeks.
But the absolute decadence of I Am Moron sonically is what will bring you back to repeat listens. Holly Ross barking lyrics in both a commanding and mantric way echoes the sorely missed Poly Styrene during the dayglo heyday of X-Ray Spex.
Another contributor to this very website advised me to keep an open mind when listening to the album and that I won’t regret it. I haven’t – and to the credit of the band, you don’t need an open mind to enjoy I Am Moron.
It’s nigh on perfect as an art-rock album; it doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t avant-garde. But it does just enough to distance itself from the predominant, formulaic approach of some of The Lovely Egg’s peers – which make it an insolent and ultimately wonderful album to be stuck indoors with.