Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Flying Lizards

This 1979 album from the experimental band Flying Lizards contains at last four classics: Der Song von Mandalay, TV, Summertime Blues and Money (That's What I Want). The first is a camp ballad with a gripping female vocal, the second is a weird and hypnotic pop song sung partly in French that reminds me of the artist Cristina of the famous Ze label. It ends in a series of atonal vocal loops. The third and the fourth are minimalist deconstructions of the old classics; the first with an aloof female lead vocal with male vocal infusions and strange innovative percussion, the second quite similar but with more charming electronic bleeps and found sounds.

The other songs like Her Story and The Flood are not as memorable and are mainly percussive explorations, sometimes with muffled vocal samples. Tracks like Trouble and Events During Flood fall into the ambient category, being quite moody and evocative instrumentals. The amazing thing about this album is the variety of themes and sounds on it. One song appropriately called guitars is just that, a lot of guitar noise. Something only the 'Lizards would get away with doing. Contrast this with the next song which is plain eerie, called The Window. A nice little vampire song adding a darker side to the album. Following this is Tube, which is a very experimental song, light and breezy in its intro then kind of blending into a mish mash of discordant sounds which somehow achieves a very funky sort of sound. The last song on the album is an extended version of Money - a brilliant one I might add
Chock full of apathy, irony, and oddness, the album stands alone among its (mostly forgotten) peers as an example of just how far out there pop music can get and still be endlessly playable. Masterful in its own deliberately insignificant way.

1.Mandelay Song [From "Happy End"] 2. Her Story 3. TV 4. Russia 5. Summertime Blues 6. Money (That's What I Want) 7. Flood 8. Trouble 9. Events During Flood 10. Window 11. All Guitars 12. Tube 13. Money (That's What I Want) [Single Edit]



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