Lo-fi married couple Holly Ross and David Blackwell have been in operation as The Lovely Eggs since 2006, in which time they have put their homemade, psychedelic, punk-pop out to a growing, but mostly underground audience. As they succinctly put it: “This is our band. We do exactly what we like.”
Uncompromising and minimal in their approach, their surreal observations on life comes on like a Lancastrian version of The White Stripes. Theirs is a messy, fun, brash sound that demands your attention, and will enervate and entertain in equal measures.
The problem when loveable, rogue DIYers grow up is whether they fall flat on their face or retain their credibility – just ask Nick Knowles (whose ‘authentic’ album of lacklustre covers suggested the ‘day job’ was never in peril). This Is Eggland (an arch reference to Shane Meadows’ music culture drama This Is England) marks the Eggs’ fifth stab at album making, and sees them embracing a producer for the first time in the shape of David Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips). Mercifully, none of the charm or chaos is lost in the transition. Instead, there’s noticeable heft to their edgy punk, psychedelic and motoric krautrock sound that was absent from their previous work.
Ross sings with her Lancastrian accent of reality-through-a-fish-eye lens, warping and distorting scenarios and characters to create a no-frills, visceral swipe at petty grievances, bad attitudes and screwball life. It’s like a GarageBand version of Twin Peaks, in concentrated blasts of Northern daftness. It bursts into life with trashy, philosophical, glam-rock operatic opener Hello I Am Your Sun, which ponders the universe (in a trashy Eggs way) and demonstrates that The Lovely Eggs have neither mellowed nor yellowed.
Wiggy Giggy builds around a phased loop of the title amidst a dense stew of guitar before Ross sings about escaping the “grass is always greener” mentality and finding a place to “eat for free”. Themes of outsiderism surface again on the solidarity of I’m With You, peering over the fence of convention on its high-octane phase and fuzz fest. The glitterstomp of Dickhead is a foul-mouthed call out retribution for name-calling and is followed in short order by by the classic Lovely Eggs sound of I Shouldn’t Have Said That, which pushes every sound to 11 and leaves it there, while regretting things said that “were evil of me”. Sonic twins Return Of Witchcraft and Witchcraft smear a fuzzy jam before the innocent intoning of “Witchcraft” unsettles through the wish for some sort of relationship exorcism and warped celebration/warning of Lancaster being – infamously, in the case of the Pendle witch trials – where witches were hanged.
This Is Eggland takes no prisoners in its sonic bombast, and does not suffer fools gladly. Taking elements from krautrock in the oscillations of Silver Apples together with the slash and fury of riot grrlers Bikini Kill, the resulting dish is mashed up in a throwaway aesthetic. This, apparently, is Eggland. And about it you have been warned; for all that, the dilemma of The Lovely Eggs’ clenched determination not to change is that they wedge themselves into a narrowing niche, where eccentricity becomes the norm and novelty becomes limiting.