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David Blackwell and Holly Ross are The Lovely Eggs

Scramble for the Lovely Eggs

This Sunday, a lucky few will have a feast for the ears when The Lovely Eggs play at The Printworks. Tickets sold out super fast. For those of you who don’t have tickets or don’t know what they are missing, Erica Smith interviewed Holly Ross, half of The Lovely Eggs duo.

On these beautiful beach-friendly days I often hear the words “We are so lucky”, chanted like a mantra by the loved-up citizens of our gritty but sunny seaside town. The fact that The Lovely Eggs like coming to gig here is yet another blessing for us to count. I saw them last time they toured – at a packed out gig at The Carlisle – spreading their happy energy across the smiling, bouncy crowd.

The Lovely Eggs are one of the most unique, innovative and genuine bands on the British Underground music scene. Setting themselves apart from the mainstream, they’ve built up a cult following which is due to blow wide open with their mind-melting new album, produced by Flaming Lips/ Mercury Rev producer, Dave Fridmann. You can sample what’s in store with their brand new single, “Wiggy Giggy”, which is out now.

I spoke to Holly back at the beginning of May, and even then there were only 12 tickets left, which made it pointless to write an article promoting the gig. Instead, I just want to encourage you to explore their music on YouTube and download their new album, This is Eggland.

The album is heavier and more in-your-face than anything they’ve done previously. Married couple Holly Ross (guitar/vocals) and David Blackwell (drums) bring together a fierce DIY ethos, surreal sense of humour and kitchen-sink realism. Dave Fridmann lends his magic dust to bring out the best of The Lovely Eggs’ explosive blend of motoric krautrock, 60s psychedelia and punk rock attitude, all flipped over and egged up.

The title, This is Eggland, is a cheeky nod to Shane Meadows’ series, This Is England. It is a comment on the current state of the country, with The Lovely Eggs encouraging people to build their own worlds and create their own reality in these troubled times. The album is about being an outsider and doing things differently, eschewing society’s conventions as they have done. I think THIS is why The Lovely Eggs are so popular in Hastings – a town where the residents are a whole flock of black sheep*.

I fell in love with The Lovely Eggs when I saw their promo video for Don’t Look At Me, I Don’t Like It. This song has everything including John Shuttleworth sporting a sausage roll thumb in the video.

I told Holly that if I ever feel miserable, I pop on The Lovely Eggs and they cheer me up. I like the raw, child-like energy of the duo. If Sesame Street was made in 20-teens Lancaster, The Lovely Eggs would be the house band. Holly’s reply was, “We’re not making our music to MAKE people laugh – it’s just that life is absurd. The humour in our music is a by-product of our life. We all have to face darkness, trouble and shit, and the best thing to do is to laugh in its face.”

Talking to Holly, I realise that The Lovely Eggs are more like Gilbert and George than a pop group. What they do is not just their art, it is their life. They process the rubbish and small joys of every day life in a grim Northern Town and turn it into amazing, psychedelic, surreal art. “We are like Oscar Wilde taking a lobster for a walk on a lead.”

Holly has been a musician since she was a teenager. Her first band, Angelica, were an all-girl riot grrrl/punk band formed in 1994. She has always been a musician and a feminist.  I asked her about how her and Dave manage to combine parenthood with touring.

“I really wanted a baby, but I really wanted to be in a rock band. It’s not easy combining the two in the male-dominated music industry, but we’ve made it work. Now our son is at school, we schedule our tours to fit in with school holidays. We live for touring – it’s exciting – like going on holiday – and our son loves it. It’s also good for us to take him with us – we used to drink way too much when we were on tour – and we still would were it not for our little boy.”

00EGGLAND COVERThis is Eggland is definitely a shade darker and more psychedelic than previous super-poppy Lovely Eggs output. I also detected a change in Holly’s vocal style – did she think it was fair to say that on some of the tracks she sounded like she was channelling recently deceased Mancunian, Mark E Smith? “You’re not the first person to say that”, she said. “I think we are both working class Northerners who are proud of where we come from. I find it really weird when you hear vocalists on stage, who sing like Americans, but when you talk to them afterwards you realise they are from down the road”.

Holly has also had to deal with vocal nodules, and couldn’t sing for about a year. Her new delivery is partly a result of learning to sing in a way which doesn’t damage her vocal chords. The album was self-recorded at Lancaster Musician’s Co-op (a non profit making recording studio and rehearsal rooms, where the pair met and David works) and the Eggs’ own house in Lancaster, while their son was in bed. Dave Fridmann then produced it remotely with the band sending demos and working progress back and forth. The result is a gratifyingly rich sounding record, which still retains the raw energy of the band’s sound but harnesses a real power and dynamism. It’s much heavier than anything they’ve done before. As Holly says: “It’s pretty relentless. It kind of sounds like a chip shop on fire. We still write about everyday life and the stuff that goes on in our world, it’s just the new album is more fierce and really tells it like it is.

I hope that the Hastings crowd give The Lovely Eggs a great welcome on Sunday night, and here’s to their return to Hastings at an even bigger venue. In the meantime, This is Eggland will keep me happy through these troubled times.

* Richard Fryer’s metaphor

Posted 16:25 Saturday, May 26, 2018 In: Music & Sound

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