Saturday, March 07, 2009
THE LIZARD'S CONVENTION- Here's a Funny Fish, Hurrah! CD
(Pony Canyon Entertainment Pte Ltd 1995)
An instant favourite in the local music scene back in the mid 90s, this group makes pleasant and carefree happy-go-lucky music at a time when bands were busy professing how much they hated themselves. Lizard's Convention sounds like the nature loving pixie smoking dandelion and daffodils playing irresistable bright pleasant pop rock music, appearing both innocuous and quirky, down-to-earth and surreal, honest and ironic. Led by four good looking graduates (with Kristin Oehlers and Sol Foo being centre of attraction), the band put out their highly acclaimed debut album “Here's a Funny Fish, Hurrah!” which garners them fame as amiable hippies, charming silly smiling besotted fans. The debut album has been heavily featured in the media, even winning themselves a top place, ironically on the Philippines radio charts with an Elvis cover called “Wooden Heart”. The heartfelt, rustic delivery of this version tastes like aromatic coffee set in the dusk of tropical beaches.
The album is chock-full of extremely well written songs. The first track “The Goat That Haunted Me”, had bagpipes or fiddles that made you want to prance about in squares, a catchy folk pop number that has beautiful Kristin Oehlers luring the dumbfounded with her ethereal vocals. There is yet something plaintive, and blatantly religious content in this track. “Pleasant Song” and “Love Nut” are a couple of my favourites on this album, the chiming guitars soaring with heavenly hooks, giving the sensation of you hovering in absolute bliss with spine-tingling octaves. At the same period of time, Frente and The Cranberries who were prominent were often dropped as comparisons and Oehlers admittedly had to suppress her jitters during the recording of this album. And the result is quite exceptionally different in a good way. “If Cows Grew On Trees”, is upbeat, mischievous and delectable and you can tell the musicians having fun with themselves while recording this one. The impish delight in it sounds like awesome pop with its energy. “Gribbit The Frog” is a bright-eyed child-like folk track which is so artless and simple, yet the very ironic dark lyrics belie its gentle nature.
There are four covers on this album, namely Elvis' “Wooden Heart” and “I Gotta Know”, Stealer Wheels' “Stuck In The Middle With You”, and Hues Corporation's “Rock The Boat”. All the originals sounds special, and all the covers do justice, if not appeared as improved versions. These guys have been around for a long time, even dating back to the late 80s, although Kristin Oehlers and Sol Foo were later additions in the 90s. There is a environmental consciousness as the central theme to the band, and there is also a strong religious connotation. The band grew quite popular back then, but one little beauty of a debut is perhaps what we will ever expect from them. The Lizard's Convention has struck as a familiar heartspot in many a nostalgic music lovers and those songs become anthemic of the mid 90s, the once exciting period of time in Singapore music.
--sojourner at 7:52 PM