Reviewing music throws up many real gems from time to time – scintillatingly great recordings by bands who are unknown to most and who will often sadly remain so. While so many new acts retread tired stoner/doom/sludge (and most recently D-beat/crust) formulae, Old Man Lizard forge ahead into splendid originality and manage to effortlessly blend the profoundly mellow and the profoundly heavy on this gorgeous five track recording (released in February of this year and available as a digital download).
The aching blues of the dying man vocals stand in contrast to much of the delicacy of the music – hoarse and throaty roars that counterpoint an often clean-ish guitar tone that utilises bent notes, semi-flamenco flourishes and dexterous runs through scales. This Suffolk based trio represent for me a new fresh spring of inspiring bands that are currently crawling out of the South East. Singer and guitarist Jack Newnham (also drummer in Suffolk’s damn fine Meadows) splats his prolific talent all over these tracks, veering from gargantuan riffs redolent of the most bloated sons of Sabbath to tonal subtlety often heard amongst a more left-field and experimental slew of American bands.
Tracks like the opener ‘Cold Winter Blues’ leave the listener feeling warm and relaxed as if suffused with a mixture of 1970s pre-skunk hashish and tepid brown ale, and left to bask on a green hillside in the glow of the late afternoon sun. Every song here is an assured example of a band with a sound that is their very own. How often can a reviewer say that of a new outfit? Old valve amps ensure the full chords and rapidly picked notes sound fried and lovely, and there is a decidedly rural intoxication to the whole vibe. Such is the sheer joyous inventiveness of OML’s three members that I am faced, to my infrequent delight, with a lack of obvious reference points. There is all kinds of musical heritage going on here: a right post-modern mash-up of old rock, new rock, darkened crust-punk and 1990s Touch & Go/Sub Pop style guitar experimentalism. Even then, I’m only just beginning to get to the truth.
Without wishing to sound needlessly gushing, and I kid thee not, this 27 minute ep is an indispensable release for 2012 – Old Man Lizard promise so much here it’s fucking frightening. One cannot ignore such quality. Album please.
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Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Adam Stone