“Welcome to our world” says the Lovely Eggs website. The one word missing is “wacky”, which would define the singular worldview that makes a Lovely Eggs album or gig so special. Wildlife, their third album, makes the case for them as crazed English surrealists better than ever. With 18 tracks, it runs counter to the rules of records: for every great grunge-pop tune (the Breeders-like ‘I Am’), there’s a 50 second shouty fragment (‘Don’t Patent Than Shoe’); for every infectious fuzzpop number (‘Allergies’), there’s a comedy amuse-bouche (‘Idiot Check’). It’s occasionally frustrating when a great idea stops after 90 seconds but there’s always something along straight afterwards to make your heart melt.
For a two piece there’s an orchestra of ideas, from krautrock to indiepop and nursery rhyme rhythms (the brilliantly strange and harmonium-led ‘Cigarettes’), one moment full of melody, the next tortured by screaming. It’s occasionally hard to take but more often it’s charmingly ramshackle and hugely loveable, like a battered but much loved toy. And if the Eggs’ skill is to take difficult musical ideas and make them deceptively simple, their lyrical talent is to take a bog-standard theme and make it brilliantly original; in here you’ll find pregnant wasps and songs about front rooms (who beyond Pulp has sung about their front rooms in the last 20 years?) ‘Food’ is an ultra-addictive love song in plate form (“I wanna eat what’s eatin’ you”) while the rousing ‘I Just Want Someone To Fall In Love With’ tells the old story in new ways, including chemistry (“hydrogen and oxygen, they found a match together”), and simultaneously shows how brilliantly they can make the 80s/90s US guitar sound that Yuck et al are so fond of.
If variety is the spice of live, you can titivate your existence with a helping of the Lovely Eggs. And if you like Sonic Youth, Northern humour and the words ‘Big Muff’ all in the same song, you’re in the right place.