Black Lizard - 'Solarize'
We’ve told a few people who’ve asked that Nordic Music Review was set up after the ‘Collective’ went to see Norwegian songwriter Moddi in Manchester, and it helped inspire us into doing something which would raise the profile of Nordic music in the UK. And whilst this is true, unbeknown to Finnish band ‘Black Lizard’, who we’ve not mentioned much in our first few months, they played a small but important part too. When we discussed setting up the Blog, I was only too aware of my huge gaps in Nordic music knowledge (the same gaps I still have…), started doing some research, and by some huge good fortune immediately stumbled upon ‘Black Lizards’ self titled debut album from a couple of years ago. I was immediately hooked, there was clearly a wealth of fantastic Finnish bands out there that many people in the UK didn’t know about.
So a few months later I’m pretty pleased to be able to write a few words about their 2nd album ‘Solarize’. For those of you that don’t know ‘Black Lizard’, they fit into a ‘psych rock’ genre, most likely originally influenced by bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain. ‘Solarize’ unmistakably has that ‘Black Lizard’ sound I heard in their debut release, but this album takes things into a different place altogether, it has a real sense of authority, even a ‘swagger’ about it. We have the same fuzzy guitar sound but more distinctive melodies, a bigger sound and its all so very good to listen to.
It opens with ‘Everything and Nothing’, a simple theme to open, but with the lyrics ‘I know what youre thinking, but its going to be fine’, the distinct rhythm section is launched, we’re back in the Black Lizard groove, although this time we get horns and other instruments thrown in too. My early favourite track is ‘Helpless’, and its difficult not to like, the guitar opening is unassuming enough, but then the vocals open up into a great tune, and they have the confidence to throw in a Saxaphone solo into the latter end of the track.
But amongst the highlights of the album is also ‘Harmonize’, which has a different sound – yes the same dreamy, slightly hypnotic vocals but with added synths and a subtler feel. The pre-Album single ‘All Her Time’ (video below) is a glorious ride back to the best of 90s Alternative Indie, but with a huge red ‘Black Lizard’ stamp on it, and great fun it is too. They finish with ‘Shine High’ 6 minutes 30 of blazing and shimmering guitar noise and its all done.
I’d suggest actually that the only reason you might not like this album is that you simply might not like this style of music, or have an allergy to fuzzy guitars. Because this is a band who write great songs and tunes, and who also have an identity and a real sense of style. And ‘Solarize’ is an excellent album which will go down really well in the UK if we can just get it to more peoples attention.
Nordic Music Review 8.5/10
'Solarize' is released through Soliti Music today 20th March.
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