Cambridge based band Lizard Brain join German Shepherd Records for their third album “Stray” . Released digitally on 18th January, 2019 the 12 track collection finds the band delivering a heady cocktail of beautifully crafted and diverse songs
Lizard Brain are:
Richard Jones: songs, keys, bass, vox, arrangements, production
Mark Fleet: songs, keys, arrangements, production
David Carter: songs, guitars, vox, bass, flute, sax, arrangements, production
Tony Jenkins: songs, vox, guitars, arrangements
“Stray” was recorded in the purpose-built Lizard Lounge studio in Lode, Cambridge from late 2016 to late 2018. Album production was led by Richard and supported by Mark and David. Following on from their earlier self-released albums Hold The Mind (2012) and That Has A Nice Ring To It (2016), the songs on the new collection emerged from a series of writing sessions using different combinations of band members whose wide musical influences resulted an album rich with variety.
The album kicks off with the Moroder drenched alt-disco groove of “Lost In Sound”, switches to the impassioned rock of “Gannets” and then swerves into Jamaican grooves with “Am I Just A Name Now”. In these three opening tracks the group evidence their skill and competence in delivering lyrically strong, well produced, quality material. What follows is a varied menu of twangy psych pop, driving rock, Northern Soul, elegiac balladry, and an epic anthemic closer “Freedom”. Throughout there are strong melodies and hooks that will leave you going back for repeated listens.
Here as a taster is an early pre-release version of the albums’s opening track “Lost In Sound”
Lost In Sound achieved the maximum possible 20 weeks in East Anglia’s New Music Generator listener chart in 2018, against stiff opposition from the best bands in the Eastern region. It became the second Lizard Brain track in the NMG Hall Of Fame, alongside Sweet Blessed Miracle. This was a real tribute to the depth of Lizard Brain’s support as people voted consistently for both tracks over all 20 weeks.
The album will be available in digital format on Bandcamp, Spotify, I Tunes, Amazon, Google, Apple Music and loads more download sites.
ABOUT LIZARD BRAIN
Mark and Richard started working together as Lizard Brain in 2008. Richard had already been in various successful musical projects, including as founder member of Transoceanic, regularly topping charts and for some years the most successful UK-based artist on MP3.COM, at the time the most important global music web platform. You can find three Transoceanic albums on all major current music platforms – ambient electronica at its very best.
Mark was a fan of Transoceanic before realising Richard was the founder member. Mark hadn’t been in any bands before, but he was a passionate and knowledgeable consumer of a wide variety of musical styles, and quickly mastered powerful DAW and synth software and began to create highly original soundscapes. They began to consider releasing an album, later to be called Hold The Mind, in 2010. Tony joined midway through this period as a vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, and helped bring the first album to completion during 2012.
David, a talented multi-instrumentalist who spans classical and most pop styles, and teaches guitar, joined midway through the second album, That Has A Nice Ring To It. Richard and Dave had written and performed a live theatre soundtrack of alt-rock songs several years previously.
It was only on releasing this second album in 2016 that Lizard Brain began actively to promote their music, reaching out initially to Dave Hammond at Cambridge 105FM, who introduced them to other DJs and became an active supporter and champion of the band. The hugely positive reaction Lizard Brain received from that point on, led to their investment in the Lizard Lounge studio late in 2016.
OF THE NEW ALBUM THE BAND SAY……
Richard: “Several times we thought that we were ready to master the album, but ‘Good Enough’ doesn’t cut it round here. So, nuances were changed, possibilities tried out and reference tracks compared to our mixes. It’s been so painstakingly mixed and mastered that we could give you a dozen different mixes of all the songs. But now I can really hear the difference. There’s nothing that I hear and think: “Ah – we missed that detail”. It’s as close to perfect as we could make it, and I love that. Worth every moment spent in the studio. It’s a very exciting achievement for us, no doubt about it.”
David: “Yeah, well the album really hangs together in a way I kind of expected, but was still surprised by, if that makes any sense. Four different writers, but all coming back to that central theme. What are we doing here? How are we supposed to be? With each other? With ourselves? Songs of hope, failure, reflection… escape even. Should I stay or should I go? How can I be happy? And what does it mean to be a human being? How do I work this thing? How did I get here? What do I do now? I had a joke, you know, that it was only musical differences keeping us together. You can pretty much hear that on the album, there’s a whole range of different styles. But it turns out deep down we are all pretty much the same. Who would have thought it? “
Mark: “Stray is what happens when you take a rocker, a hippy, an ambient geek and a mod, and you shake – vigorously.”
Respected Cambridge 105 DJ Dave Hammond who has featured the band from the outset on his Smelly Flowerpot show had this to say about the new album:
Sometimes when you listen to an album, you can’t help but come up with reference points, whether they are bands, genres or a general feel. But what happens when you reach sensory overload on the references? You can only come to the conclusion that said album is its own beast, better than the sum of its parts and a perfect summary in 40 odd minutes of all that has been great in pop music the last 50 or so years.
Let’s get those references out of the way- Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, Python Lee Jackson, Moody Blues, The Police, Gary Numan, Talking Heads, Duane Eddy, Nile Rodgers, Gil Scott Heron, 10cc, Dexys Midnight Runners, Led Zeppelin, Leonard Cohen etc- and celebrate the third album by Lizard Brain. Similarly to the great Teenage Fanclub, these four Cambridgeshire based guys share song writing and singing duties which may partially explain the dizzying array of styles, not to mention instrumentation (Japanese flute, crows crowing anyone?), on show.
Aside from the music there’s plenty to intrigue lyrically, from the unsettling to the upbeat with many stops in between, and plenty open to interpretation. It’s a rare delight in today’s polished, soundbite world to hear words and music unafraid to run the gamut from hedonistic, toe tapping delight to gut wrenching emotion. The album, which is meticulously and beautifully self-produced, has undoubtedly been worth its lengthy gestation period.
I’ve just recently sorted and broadcast my top 20 albums for 2018 , but I already have a contender for 2019 following a private preview listen to Stray
Other comments about the band…..
“I heard it for the first time this morning. Catchy and well produced. You guys never fail to impress.” Neil Whiteside, Cambridge 105 DJ of lead track “Lost In Sound”
“I’m reminded of 10cc at their best, a truly impressive collection of songs” Aural Delights Blog
“Great songs.” Phil Crowder, The End of the Week Show Sheppey FM
Stray is available on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp and all major global outlets.