Lizard Music – Arizone!
This is certainly a well-produced CD that’s sonically crisp, & atmospheric. This NJ rock quartet is reminiscent of the best elements of ancient times: The Beatles, & Klaatu on the opener “The Crow Flies.”
Of course, they go punkier on “The Mixtape,” which goes to show the band isn’t exactly original musically but has their influences embedded in their skill. I guess it’s wise they didn’t follow the lead of their first song – the versatility shines & the songs are short.
There are 15 tunes on this highly polished LP. On cut 3 “Keystone Cops,” they’re in a Korgis, (“Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” “If I Had You”) & Stackridge (“The Volunteer”) gear. That’s admirable (don’t laugh, some Stackridge was produced by The Beatles’ George Martin & some by Tony Ashton).
Lizard Music is brilliantly arranged & performed with dynamic Deaf School-Tubes theatrical aggression. The band is creative, & original despite sounding like their forbearers.
“Arizone!” is creepy but tantalizing sound. Vocals are borderline Sparks (by L.A. Mael Brothers — “At Home, At Work, At Play”). Then add Beach Boys harmonies, shift to a “96 Tears,” era organ by ? & the Mysterians, & back to the Beach Boys. Cool.
Arizone! (Drops Oct 8-Omnivore Recordings) is entertaining. I’d like to say it’s bombastic, but it’s balanced. As the CD progresses, however, they begin to lose inspiration & steam. Pristine sound persists, with many infectiously melodic inventive tunes. The earlier songs have a more expansive landscape.
Their first LP in 25-years, these fellows are good. Will it work in 2021? That’s the question.
The tint of New Wave as depicted by the marvelous 70s band New Muzik (“Islands,” “Straight Lines”) & the still in existence Dutch band Gruppo Sportivo (“I Said No”) are evident. Is Lizard Music imitating? No. Not at all. They fit into this motorized music like a hot cylinder.
Born in Atlantic Highlands, NJ (1989) the band creates an other-worldly surreal musical environment (even Smashing Pumpkins & XTC borrowed from). The clarity & separation produced make this one of the year’s best. But probably a long shot for today’s market. I’m older – I think it’s great.
A misstep? Yeah, 2: “Laughing In the Face of Love,” has tight music, marvelously performed. It gallops along reliably but it’s drenched in 60s tradition, too much so. Some may embrace this silliness others dismiss it with its “Ghost Riders In the Sky,” type guitar. “You Should Be Proud,” is sound effects, dialogue & nothing.
“What’s My Line,” is curious with its Troggs’ “Wild Thing,” ocarina (flute). A good riveting rocker: “Make That Drink To Go.” “Better Believe,” shifts into a moody melody & retains the treated vocals.
The band: Chris Apple (bass/keys/trumpet/vocals), Wilco’s Mikael Jorgensen (keys/guitar/vocals), Erik Paparozzi (guitar/keys/vocals) & Craig Smith (drums/percussion/keys/vocals).
Moist cheesecake for the ears.
Photo courtesy: Lizard Music Facebook. The 54-minute CD: available @ https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/arizone/