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What made them known was Deborah Evan-Strickland's disaffected upper class monotone deconstructing soul and rock classics such as their 1979 début single Summertime Blues and its chart smash follow-up, Money, over a barrage of prepared pianos making like funky synths. Summertime Blues was actually better than Money - the ultimate attempt at teen rebellion quashed by the man is transposed here to the world of the dull. The herky, quirky jerky funk of Russia and Her Story underlined what the group was really about, away from the novelty of the singles. Vivien Goldman's pure folk voice sweetened the drive of Her Story, and the pop-confection of TV was tremendous. Cunningham's Eno influence was writ large on the record's ambient textures.
By the time of their second record, Fourth Wall, from 1981, the novelty had worn off somewhat. Patti Paladin and Love Of Life Orchestra's Peter Gordon assist on what is still a rewarding listen, certainly as Cunningham applies his winning formula to Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up.
A perennial footnote, the Flying Lizards retained the Fluxus principle of having a jolly good laugh with their art. The group were seen as some kind of novelty act; however more people heard them than This Heat. The ensemble's influence on LCD and DFA bring them right up to the modern day and here they are to download with lots of bonus material. --Daryl Easlea
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while they are only remembered for their deadpan version of money with banjo accompanyment, there are many fun tracks on this disc. i really would like to hear the 3 bonus tracks too. other standout cuts include an electronic instrumental that would fit right in a fripp/eno record, the danceable funky "russia" the so bad it's funny opera "der song von mandelay" or the cheesy organ ballad "tv" that ends with the band playing "nose flutes".
i can clearly hear this album's influence in solex's second album "pick up". if you like flying lizards, you might like her too. she kind of sounds like a cross between lizards and portishead if it was fronted by cyndi lauper. if amazon has an audio file, check her out. it's really a shame that they don't have files for this lizards' album as it is an essential new wave classic of the same caliber as early devo or talkingheads.
i like the album so much, i've bought it THREE TIMES! really. i lost my first copy, wore out my second, and bought my third as an import at an auction for a clean copy and because of the full color inner sleeve.
if you like silly experimental music that makes you tap your foot, you can't go wrong with flying lizards' 1st album and the two album on one cd "daft" by the art of noise. solex sounds a little more detached and serious, but her off kilter vocal rhythms and cutesy voice are infectious.
i also have the flying lizards "secret dub life" which sounds nothing at all like "lizards it truly is a dub album. an instrumental dub album devoid of "lizards'" tongue in cheek playfulness. i've been looking everywhere for fourth wall, but it seems to have sold out a long time ago. i've heard that it's even better than "lizards". finally, they realeased another album i believe that was never recorded to cd whose name eludes me and i can't find my trouser press guide.
flying lizards and daft are two of the best cds to listen to when you need a laugh, but they're so much fun to listen to, that it's easy to wear out their fun factor. play either cd for a friend... and you're likely to get the "you're crazy" look as most sheep... i mean people refuse to listen to any music... i mean corporate sludge that the radio doesn't cram down their throats 20 times a day. flying lizards is truly music for the adventerous!
The album blew me away...the female vocalist has a distinct voice, well spoken with a tongue in cheek attitude. Her enunciation only adds to the stark but alluring beat of the songs. Money is perhaps the most accessible of all the tracks but the other tracks that stand out are TV,the line "I knew you'd go far in my white convertible car..." just ouses class and a certain seductive tone the way the lead singer intonates those words. One very unique feature of the Flying Lizards is to make the mundane interesting just by the nasal very slow pronounciation.
A very refreshing version of summertime blues, slowed right down to accentuate the boredom associated with "summertime blues". The interruption of US senator to announce there is nothing he can do if he can't get her vote is kind of out there but humerous.
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 eery, called The Window. References are made to vampires and like adding a darker side to the album.
Following this is Tube, which is a very experimental song, light and cruisy 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
All I can say in wrapping up is this band were and still are extremely underrated. They have to be one of the most innovative, humour-laden (compliment) group around. I find the lead female singer's voice really adds to the eclectic nature of the music. Found myself playing the album over and over I liked it so much. As well as the great lyrics there are some really good breaks and riffs in the album
I would strongly recommend this album to anyone who is into experimental music, something a little off mainstreet. Also who likes original lyrics with a good solid beat
Dub techniques are used throughout the album to great effect, whilst the arrangements on the aforementioned four highlights are superb. 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. This CD reissue contains three new tracks, including the single edit of Money. Those whose musical tastes include artists as diverse as The Residents, Material, Was (Not Was), Lene Lovich and Meredith Monk will definitely love this album.