The Flying Lizards retained the Fluxus principle of having a jolly good laugh with...
Daryl Easlea 2008-04-28
Now this was art. And dance. Appearing at the height of new wave, Dada/Fluxus influenced music installation artist David Cunningham put together a loose ensemble to quietly subvert pop, with improvisational gurus David Toop and Steve Beresford dropping by to assist.
What made them known was Deborah Evan-Strickland's disaffected upper class monotone deconstructing soul and rock classics such as their 1979 début single Summertime Blues and its chart smash follow-up, Money, over a barrage of prepared pianos making like funky synths. Summertime Blues was actually better than Money – the ultimate attempt at teen rebellion quashed by the man is transposed here to the world of the dull. The herky, quirky jerky funk of Russia and Her Story underlined what the group was really about, away from the novelty of the singles. Vivien Goldman's pure folk voice sweetened the drive of Her Story, and the pop-confection of TV was tremendous. Cunningham's Eno influence was writ large on the record's ambient textures.
By the time of their second record, Fourth Wall, from 1981, the novelty had worn off somewhat. Patti Paladin and Love Of Life Orchestra's Peter Gordon assist on what is still a rewarding listen, certainly as Cunningham applies his winning formula to Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up.
A perennial footnote, the Flying Lizards retained the Fluxus principle of having a jolly good laugh with their art. The group were seen as some kind of novelty act; however more people heard them than This Heat. The ensemble's influence on LCD and DFA bring them right up to the modern day and here they are to download with lots of bonus material.