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The Lovely Eggs
This Is Eggland Mick Middles , February 23rd, 2018 13:37

From Lancaster, the perfectly produced sounds of a chip shop burning down.

Twelve years and four albums have flashed by since Holly Ross and David Blackwell fell together as The Lovely Eggs, after watching two pigeon eggs hatch in Paris. A fittingly surreal birth, one might conclude, for a Lancaster married couple whose sole aim was to warp the stark realities that lay in abundance in their hometown. In Lancaster, weirdness hovers menacingly in every darkened corner. As the band comment, “This is where Pendle Witches were hung.” No one is ever surprised on discovering this fact. Despite this enveloping darkness, the duo have continued to present a wonderful day-glo sense of surrealism, powerfully laced by vicious homespun humour. One of the most memorable events in recent YouTube history was the arresting sight of John Shuttleworth thrusting forth his “sausage roll thumb” in The Eggs’ gorgeously off-kilter ‘Don’t Look at Me (I Don’t Like It)’.

But things have been changing. Blessed with a steadily improving musicality, The Lovely Eggs have increasingly hinted at a future heaviness that at one stage would have seemed unthinkable. Well, here it is. This is Eggland powers in like an approaching combine harvester with the thunderous psychedelic howl of ‘Hello, I Am Your Sun’, which seems to blend The Seeds with Electric Wizard, or similarly unmatched underground offshoots. It succeeds, thrillingly. Block chords shimmer in the undertone, like waking up to an Ibiza sunrise after a night of rampant hedonism. Yes, that good.

To assist them in capturing this new sound-scope, Holly and David have taken the unprecedented step of encouraging a quality producer into the warm glowing fray. (Dave Fridmann, whose production credits include The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. You can hear both those remarkable outfits all across this album.) Here he steps boldly up to a task that must have seemed initially rather daunting. For this is music that appears expand as you listen. The real task, one senses, is to keep that fierce Northern humour intact. No easy feat, as one feels the force of this aural tsunami.

As the tracks flip by it becomes clear that Holly's suggestion that it “sounds like a chip shop on fire” is unnervingly accurate. (It’s perhaps more like the roof blowing from the top of Heysham power station.) ‘Wiggy Giggy’ flirts with a Madchester/Chicago fusion and could have been plucked from a 1989 Hacienda dancefloor collection. ‘I’m With You’ is a call to arms, a cementing of the duo’s determination to retain a fierce outsider stance, be it in musical or practical terms, even beyond the bloated calls of mainstream stardom.

These are largely ignored. ‘Will You Fuck?’, the only song here that recalls their early legacy, can be taken any way the listener wishes. It’s a beautiful simple twist and Holly Ross is a singer who could squeeze humour from a funereal dirge.

This is Eggland is a relentless, heartfelt statement of intent. You wouldn’t bet against them unearthing glory from the fringe for decades to come.