The Lovely Eggs return with their third studio album, Wildlife, after a year and a half of touring since Cob Dominos. The Lancaster duo once more punch the world of music directly in the nuts with an album that is a triumph in balancing between realism and farce. As a whole, Wildlife is very, very silly, but in a highly relatable and enjoyable way. At no point do Holly Ross’ lightly humorous lyrics ever feel like forced comedy, instead highlighting the humour in the mundane.
Opener and lead single Allergies sets the tone perfectly, with the combination of Ross’ sweet northern nursery rhyme voice on a backdrop of power chords and frantic drums reminiscent of a slightly sillier Kenickie. This sparse instrumentation and production continue through the entirety of the album, paying a kind homage to mid-nineties girl rock. The track itself is a clear stand out of the album, with the melodic hook straying just enough from formula to remain interesting and yet simple enough to offer the distinctively unrefined catchiness of a playground melody.
Don’t Patent That Shoe and The Undertone blend into one song on first listen, and are just a solid not-quite-two-minutes of shouty fun. I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With is oddly astute in its simplicity, as Ross states “I just want someone to fall in love with…Thousands of people feel just like me” And we agree that yes, indeed, we do feel just like her.
Please Let Me Come Mooch Around Your House is fine, but not the most outstanding track of the album, being a little monotonous after a few listens. David’s Turn provides a brief interlude into Scooter’s Got Itchy in which Ross lists a lot of itchy people. A bit of fun here, and over fast enough to remain enjoyable after a few listens.
Cigarettes is perhaps a grown up version of Ten Green Bottles, and is a little odd in terms of the rhymes that don’t quite fit, jarring the childish sing-a-long melody with moments of fleeting interest. I Am sounds like a particularly unambitious Sleater Kinney track, and more or less pulls it off (excluding the chorus which is a bit of a let down here).
Title track Wildlife follows, with its seemingly endless list of bizarre garden fauna jammed together with guitar/drum hits, never sticking to a particular time signature. This track is particular enjoyable if only for the fact of pondering how on earth Holly Ross remembers the lyrics.
We then move onto Lee Mellon’s Teeth, which is maybe a verse too long, but that’s not a real complaint. The deadpan lyrical delivery helps a lot here, making the track sound rather more serious than it in fact is. Idiot Check sounds like a deleted scene from Julia Davis and Rob Brydon’s short-lived BBC comedy series Human Remains.
Just Wont Do It has needless and yet somehow necessary wordless yelling interspersed throughout it, and for The Lovely Eggs, this just works. On William Tell we are advised “William Tell, what a grass. Don’t tell William,” which is so childishly stupid and yet delivered with such conviction it will give a fair few snickers and snorts before wearing out its charm.
We Really Got It is actually a really lovely little love song. Retaining The Eggs’ trademark lack of lyrical grace, it sounds very much like an average conversation between a couple. The Castle completes the album with a relentless thump. The backing vocals are slightly off key at a couple of points, which works to highlight the nicer sections, but are a little bit jarring after a few listens. The track comes close to channelling Girlysound era Liz Phair through a Lancaster native.
This album provides a wonderful bit of relief and escapism into slightly surreal humour, and several of the tracks prove to be rather addictive listening (Allergies being the prime example of this). However, there are a few moments throughout the record that lack the charm of the majority, and it’s these points (Please Let Me Come And Mooch Around Your House in particular) that let the album down by a smidge.