The Lovely Eggs - picture by Darren Andrews

PLANET OEUF – Lancaster’s Lovely Eggs On How Rampant Consumerism And The Mars Mission Influenced New Album ‘I Am Moron’

A university city in the North West of England, Lancaster offers woodland walks, 19th century prison cells and views of the River Lune.

It’s also home to The Lovely Eggs, a married duo who have been making music entirely independently of ‘the business’ for 13 years now.

The very definition of DIY, the Eggs – Holly Ross and David Blackwell – release records almost exclusively on their own label, handle all their own bookings and even drive themselves to gigs in their trusty Fiat Scudo van.

Starting in dramatic style with gig in New York City they’ve steadily grown in influence, making a great leap forward with fifth album This Is Eggland produced by Dave Fridman, whose credits include Mercury Rev, Mogwai and The Flaming Lips.

Now comes the release of Eggland’s ‘sister album’ I Am Moron. which sees the band continuing to develop a heavier, angrier version of their trademark psychedelic-punk fusion.

In – dare we say it – a cracking interview, EP’s Matt Catchpole finds the Eggs enjoying the isolation imposed by the Coronavirus outbreak, while contemplating space travel to escape the rapacious greed and selfishness of their fellow Earthlings.

The Lovely Eggs 'Eggotism'
Eggistential Angst – David Blackwell and Holly Ross

Something of a cottage industry, The Lovely Eggs are a totally contained unit, based out of their home and the Music Cooperative where David used to work and the pair first met.

Resolutely eschewing the bright lights of London, and even nearby Manchester and Liverpool, they’ve made all their records at the non-profit-making Co-op and joined a successful campaign to save it from being razed for development.

Their decision to keep everything in-house, aided by just a few key acolytes, came after Holly got her first taste of the music business as lead singer and guitarist with all female band Angelica.

Formed in 1994, Angelica released two albums and supported the likes of The Beautiful South and Babes in Toyland.

“In a way it was fun ‘cos I got to hang out with all my girl mates and we would have a right laugh and get pissed and it was a massive adventure for us ‘cos we were young,” Holly remembers.

But dealing with record companies and the whole merry-go-round of the music industry left her determined to having nothing more to do with it.

“It was so stressful and I can do without that side of being in a band,” Holly says. “All that side of things is complete bullshit. Can’t be arsed with the knobheads.”

Angelica - fronted by Holly Wells
Angelic Upstarts – Holly with Angelica

Three years after Angelica split, The Lovely Eggs performed their debut show at The Lit Lounge in New York, before returning to tour the UK.

“We wanted to play somewhere good. Out of Lancaster,” Holly explains. “And New York is as good as anywhere.

“We’ve been influenced by a lot of bands coming out of New York so we thought we’d start there.”

Visually they’re kind of a White Stripes in reverse, with Holly on guitar and David – a former member of psychedelic drone outfit Three Dimensional Tanx – on drums.

While rejecting any kind of direct comparison, David concedes that Jack and Meg White’s success might have helped to spur them on.

“I guess playing without a bass, only two of them, making a lot of noise must have been somewhere in our subconscious that we could do it! They’re great though The White Stripes,” he says.

The Lovely Eggs’ music is difficult to categorise, with quirky lyrics, explosive drumming and spacey electronica.

Acknowledged influences include experimental bands like Can,  Neu! and Negativland along with The Velvet UndergroundSonic Youth and Ozzy Osbourne‘s proto-metallers Black Sabbath.

Humour is a major part of what they do, songs like Have You Ever Heard A Digital Accordian? joyously rhyming the titular instrument with the late American novelist, satirist and poet Richard Braughtigan.

“A digital accordion sounds like whatever you want it to sound like {and} you should read Richard Brautigan because he’s got a different way of looking at life. And sometimes life needs re-examination,” David comments.

Elsewhere, noticably on the new album, The Egg’s wit is more barbed and savage, reinforcing their message, rather than tempering it.

“The people who think we’re funny just don’t get us,” Holly explains. ” Some of our lyrics are more surreal or super real that people laugh at them and because the reaction is a smile they then think we’re funny.

“But we’re not trying to be. It’s just making observations you know. And the world is a fucked up place and that’s pretty funny in itself. So they’re laughing at that and we’re just pointing it out.”

All of which brings us to new album I Am Moron, which the duo says was partially inspired by a project offering a one-way ticket to Mars.

“We got obsessed by the Mars One programme while we were making the album,” Holly explains. “It’s a global programme running right now, where you can sign up to a genuine one-way trip to Mars. We are totally down with it. It’s like committing suicide, but still getting to live. Pretty trippy eh!”

Several tracks on the album attack selfishness and consumerism and it’s this lack of concern for others and the planet, which is making the band think of quitting Earth for good.

“We’ve been sick of how the world’s been going for a while now. It’s totally fucked up. Yeah, we’re kind of so fed up we’re ready to leave,” Holly says.

Musically, David says the new record is “definitely a sister album to Eggland,” but denies suggestions, it has a more punk flavour than its predecessor.

“We actually think the new record is more psychedelic than Eggland. Weird huh?”

They are delighted to have retained the services of Fridman for the album.

“He just makes it sound massive and gets to look at it in a different way. It’s been great collaborating,” David enthuses.

While the success of Eggland and support from Iggy Pop and fellow BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Marc Riley raised the band’s profile, they concede it’s made their DIY ethic more challenging.

The couple take son Arlo on the road with them, planning tours around his school holidays.

“It’s definitely a lot more work now than we ever thought, but we kind of just make it up as we go along,” David explains. “It can get pretty tough at times though, yeah, especially when you put a kid in the equation.”

For a band which conducts itself in splendid isolation from the rest of the music biz, the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 outbreak present little concern.

“It’s our life anyway, isolation, so we’re not finding it hard at all.” Holly affirms.

They’ve had to postpone shows, “a real fucker,” Holly admits, but are keeping fans entertained online with “a raffle and a few prank calls”.

Sharing a strong bond and musical vision, they rarely argue, even in these testing times.

“We don’t really row much,” says Holly. “Well I mean we do sometimes but, not the way that most bands row over music and shit. It will more be about who’s not put the bins out!  We get on really well. We still love getting drunk together and having a laugh.”

Loud, angry, funny, and somewhat out of this world, The Lovely Eggs could be just what we need to see us through this weird and frightening lockdown.

About the author

Full time journalist, music lover (obvs) and truly terrible guitarist. You can find Matt on twitter @matcatch

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