I’ve read that people who mix capital and lower case letters in their writing are unhinged. I had a supervisor when I worked in a record store who did it and he once threw a roll of Sellotape - full, mind you, not at the ‘touching card’ stage - at my head when I asked how he was. It missed, of course, but the fact has always stuck with me.
So when my review copy of If You Were Fruit arrived, accompanied by a completely charming, but confusingly syntaxed, letter, I feared the absolute worst.
Turns out the theory holds true.
Luckily The Lovely Eggs are unhinged in the best possible way. Like a great aunt who keeps forgetting she’s already given you a fiver for clearing the dandelions out of her garden and keeps forking out again and again until your mum catches you.
The Lovely Eggs lead you down the garden path with the opening scuzzed up riff of 'Sexual Cowboy', before quickly switching it up into a bouncing melody akin to The Violent Femmes' 'Blister In The Sun'. They then proceed to sit you down to a whimsical picnic with 'Mices', then rip the blanket from under you with bloodcurdling wailing about “muscle-bound” sharks. This is a tactic employed throughout If You Were Fruit. The old bait'n'switch, ladies and gentlemen.
'Odeath', for example, sounds like a Black Mountain sketch finished off by Daniel Johnston. The opening riff is enough to take your face off, but it quickly evolves (or devolves, depending on your taste) into a hummable melody, in which, as far as I can make out, the object of the Eggs' affection is compared to a variety of fruit before being told to “...eat shit.” This is quickly followed by 'Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordion?'. Ever heard twee metal before? Me neither. I have now.
At this point words are starting to fail me, I have to admit.
This is a completely singular album. Sure, there are lots of comparisons that could be made. Easy comparisons that I'm loathe to bring up as they're pretty much spelled out in the press release and there's been enough talk lately about the future of music journalism without rendering myself redundant by recycling the words of the industry fans the Eggs have been picking up recently.
However I'll allow myself one and that'll be it. The Moldy Peaches and Henry Darger, hold a meeting to write a screenplay of Dante's Inferno. With Wesley Willis in the lead role. With a Riot Grrrl soundtrack. Directed by Wes Anderson. There. Get the picture?
That the Lovely Eggs continually get compared to outsider artists like Daniel Johnston and The Moldy Peaches is testament to the heart, humour and warmth the they put into their music. You really get the impression that they couldn't do it any other way if they wanted to. Like all bands of this ilk, their singularity could be their stumbling block. This is the kind of stuff that splits an audience. However like Kimya Dawson et al, I'm pretty sure they're too busy having a good time, all the time, to give two shits.
The track order is the only thing that really lets the Lancaster two-piece down here. With so many skewed pop gems sitting in the front half of the album they could find that listeners never make it to the Steptoe & Son rag and bone plod of 'Baulk Cushion'. Which would definitely suck. Geddit?
7Chris Nicholls's Score