In my mind, it’s got to be hard to start to craft your own sound, unburdened by the music one consumes, unless of course you’re in a semi-remote area, such as Finland. It’s clear when listening to Black Lizard that they bear the touchstones of many acts, but their self-titled debut sees the group creating something entirely their own; it’s an album with diverse sound that will please any listener.
Sonic exploration seems to be the key to the album’s opener, “Honey, Please.” Like a storm, it rolls in quietly on the back of a ringing guitar, with happily haunting vocals drifting atop. For me, the marvel is the restraint show on the tune, as Black Lizard seemingly stay in one mode for the entirety of the track; I’d be apt to just let go with a wall of noise. However, the band moves into more psychedelic territory on the following “Boundaries,” which is in danger of having some of the atmospheric guitars bleed all the way through your speakers. Percussion on this tune takes a more tribal approach, while the vocals still have that foggy coating, even with a bit of clarity opening up briefly before the song fizzles out in a haze.
Even though the more broad reaching tracks on Black Lizard definitely hold a spot on my weekly playlist, I think that one of the facets that works best for the band is when they go for simplicity, such as on “Dead Light. Sure, the pacing in the beginning has that slow opening, but when the chorus lets loose with distorted guitars and vocal swagger, it’s perhaps one of the best moments on the album: a sure hit. “Forever Gold” is similar, especially in the realm of length, but it’s a quick banger that allows the band to tightly weave their sound into a neat little package for listeners. It’s not that the group gets too expansive, I just enjoy when they get a bang-on chorus that makes me bob my head, and that’s present in both these tunes.
If I were to counsel the group, I think my advice would be to allow for the vocals to shine through a bit more though, just a bit. “Love is a Lie” is one of the most memorable tracks on the album, and it’s success is that it combines that stomping rhythm, bits of distortion, but also vocals you can attach yourself to, allowing listeners to fully invest themselves in the record. But, aside from that small slight, Black Lizard clearly are defining a sound all their own, making this an effort worthy of your time. You want post-rock? Shoegaze? Psychedelia? It’s all here, and it’s all execute with a style that perhaps could only be captured in the land of Helsinki.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/BLACK-LIZARD-Love-Is-A-Lie.mp3]
Download: BLACK LIZARD – Love Is A Lie [MP3]
Black Lizard is out now on Soliti Music.