Alizarin Lizard turn down the turbulence

Alizarin Lizard plays this week. Photo by Alex Lovell-Smith.
Alizarin Lizard plays this week. Photo by Alex Lovell-Smith.
Dunedin psych-pop band Alizarin Lizard will celebrate the release of its second full-length album Do You Just Want Me To Watch You? next Thursday at Re:Fuel.

The quartet, led by songwriter Paul Cathro, released their debut album The Weekend Went Without You - an album of big, bravado-laden riffs, and Pink Floyd-style heavily reverbed psych curiosities - just over a year ago.

On the new album, however, the band have turned down the turbulence, indulging some serious affection for '90s British pop, channelling Abbey Road-era Beatles, and drawing attention to the more detailed, restrained and often more mellow song-writing courtesy of production from Andy Straight (Biff Merchants) and Tex Houston (Clean, 3Ds).

Do You Just Want Me To Watch You? also includes the band's reimagining of a couple of tracks that first surfaced on demo, which Cathro sold wrapped in plain lined paper at a series of low-key solo shows at Mou Very bar in George St three years ago.

It's the same bar where I've met Cathro, drummer Benjamin Sargeant, and keyboard/organ player Logan Hampton to discuss the new album.

''A lot of the songs are actually quite old,'' Cathro says.

''I recorded them as demos on a friend's borrowed MacBook with my Hammond organ.

''One of them was just the result of an experiment. On GarageBand, I discovered the brass instruments, which you can play on the keyboard, and I decided I was basically going to write a song using that.

''There are a lot of other instruments on this record too: there's flugelhorn, tambourine, farfisa, and acoustic guitar even. It is still garage-y, like it isn't too polished or flash, but it has a lot more overdubbing on it. It was trying to find a common ground between the bedroom demos where there was lots going on, and us just jamming it out.

Hampton continues:''I think we've just put more time into it this time''.

''We're a lot happier with how it's turned out.

''I think we could almost release Paul's demos as an album, though. Those things are amazing.

''It makes our job so much easier working from demos, there are just so many different reference points to work from. Some of the tracks are really quite similar to Paul's original demos.''

And on a first listen to the album, it's the tracks that sit nearest to the demos that really stand out as highlights.

High Rollers opens with a beautifully toned simple key pattern before dropping into a layered Bowie-style verse.

It's great pop with buzzy, weirdo touches.

Joining Alizarin on the night is Dunedin/Auckland trio Brown, which features both Cathro and Sargeant alongside Cathro's brother Michael.

Proving that talent clearly runs in the family, Michael is also an idiosyncratic songwriter, with a unique singing voice to match his perspective. Brown released its sophomore album, Mannequins, late last year and with frontman Cathro now based in Auckland, their appearances in Dunedin should always be welcomed.

See it

Alizarin Lizard Do You Just Want Me To Watch You? album release with Brown and Nannystate, Thursday, February 21, doors open 9pm. Entry $10 or $25 including new album.

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