Finnish garage-rockers Black Lizard formed back in 2008 and have been busy leading the pack in the ever expanding and all inspiring Scandinavian underground with a relentless gig schedule and sequence of releases. The band is comprised of Paltsa-Kai Salama (vocals, guitar), Joni Seppanen (guitar), Lauri Lyttinen (bass) and Onni Nieminen (drums, percussion). This Friday sees the release of their third LP Celebration of a New Dawn on Fuzz Club Records.
Their self titled debut was released in 2013, with Anton Newcombe assisting with recording and Sonic Boom heading the mixing. This was followed by Solarize in 2015. Celebration of a New Dawn was recorded in the basement of a rundown 50s movie theatre turned recording studio and is a stunning collection of 60s inspired psychedelia fused with the grittiness of the garage rock movement.
The ten track offering opens with ‘Sinking Ship’ which laces krautrock influences with the more traditional psychedelic; reverberating vocals and guitar interplay. Lead track ‘Window in Time’ is in many ways, exactly that. The jangly track emits vibes of lazy California days when the world was a less complicated place. Talking of the single, the band explain: “’Window in Time’ is psychedelic pop song about enjoying your life the way it is. Most of their lives people seem to look for things they don’t have and spend their time trying to be like someone else, then there might be a point where you realize that you have everything you need right here and right now.” ‘Love Dies’ and ‘Elevation’ continue this theme effortlessly and although it’s clear that a considerable amount of musical prowess has gone into the creation of such tracks, they exude a care-free attitude.
‘Lilac Garden’ moves in a slightly different way, with a strong bass line protruding above the percussion and woodwind elements; it is a perfect instrumental interlude to the tracks it neighbours. ‘At the Gates of Sun’ is arguably the strongest track on the album, with a Doors inspired guitar riff (‘The End’ anyone?) before moving into layered sounds which shimmer in and out of the consciousness. ‘Morning Bliss’ pushes a synth sound and delayed vocals before ‘I Can’t Be Found’ reaches a higher plane with a real dance along beat and groovy rhythm – this is a track that will undoubtedly go down well live. ‘Black Shadow’, as it name suggests, has a darker edge than the rest of the album, with an atonal guitar riff setting the scene whilst a menacing drum beat drives. That being said, it showcases the diversity of the band that they can put such a track in this LP and it not feel out of place. ‘Sister Purple’ concludes, painting a soundscape of 60s flower power imagery once more; melodic and hopeful.
Celebration of a New Dawn sees a new rotation of the Black Lizard wheel. The vivid and playful album evokes an overwhelming sense of nostalgia whilst carving its own path through the haze of psychedelia.