Austin Lounge Lizards

Strange Noise in the Dark (Blue Corn)

Texas Platters

Austin Lounge Lizards

Strange Noises in the Dark (Blue Corn) The Austin Lounge Lizards have been together in one form or another for more than 20 years now, and, as Strange Noises in the Dark makes apparent, they have no plans for stopping anytime soon. It's a sure bet that the Lizards are some of Austin's best musical ambassadors, as they export their comedic mayhem throughout North America and Europe. Strange Noises is their eighth studio album, and while it covers no new ground, there are musical moments here that are exceptional. The interplay on the gypsy-flavored title cut and original fiddle tune "Snopes' Glory" are great examples of what this band is capable of instrumentally, especially Dobro player Tom Pittman and (Greencards) fiddler Eamon McLoughlin. Whether or not the rest of it stands up to repeat listening depends on how big a fan you are of the Lizards' brand of satire. While there are few bands that count Frank Zappa and Flatt & Scruggs as influences, something to be admired at face value, more often than not the wordplay on Strange Noises seems forced and obvious. "Tastes Like Chicken," with the couplet, "Cat guts, rat butts, any way you canned nuts/Ground hog, boiled dog, love a little legless frog," is just one example. Elsewhere, they come across as latter day Tom Lehrers. The Austin Lounge Lizards' hearts are in the right place (give a listen to "Why Couldn't We Blow Up Saddam?"), but Strange Noises, fun the first couple of times through, is likely to stay on the shelf not long after that.

**

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