Band – Lizard McGee
Album / Label – Spooky Jets / LFM Records
Rating – 4 / 5
The acoustic stylings of this solo effort stand as a companion piece to last year’s album, while also rendering a moodier, minimalist and darker interpretation of the more polished “Pause For The Jets.”
He recorded each of the nine tracks on the album while alone in his bedroom and under the spell of the Blood Moon, using an old acoustic guitar and one microphone. Each track was recorded in just one take, keeping the immediacy soundly intact.
Opening with Wisdom Teeth, the ambient noise of crickets place you squarely in a secluded forest, surrounded by darkness. “There’s a little man, inside my mouth…” is especially poignant when you consider the circumstances under which McGee recorded the song.
In Lovers Chords, McGee’s vocal pain comes through to the point where you cannot help but feel the lyrical anguish. The dark musings are indeed spooky, giving off an almost ethereal quality.
Lamenting the fact that he has to leave, I Don’t Want To Go comes across as a sorrowful tale of McGee’s loneliness and loss.
This version of Bring Yrself 2 Me has similarities to the polished feel on “Pause For The Jets”, but his vocal wailing and minimalist approach causes you to viscerally feel his pain.
Silverheels, which happens to be my favorite track from last year’s album, becomes a plaintive wail of desperation on “Spooky Jets.” The hurt comes through like a dagger to your heart when he sings “These are my remains, go on and pick me over…” We’ve all felt the pain of loss, and McGee captures that feeling succinctly.
The ambient crickets are back for Holy Ghost Letter, setting the scene for more loss. Once again, McGee makes you feel as if he is singing each of these songs directly to you, addressing your pain and loss.
If there is a happy song to be found on the album, Wasted On You is that track. And yet, it still has the overall feel of lamenting a love that ended, never to return.
All My Sins Are Blotted Out places you squarely in the crosshairs of McGee’s anguish as he ponders whether he has the strength to continue. “Please whisper in my ear, ‘I will always love you’…” becomes so powerful with the minimal styling on this album, that you cannot help but become misty-eyed.
Like last year’s album, “Spooky Jets” also closes with the track Badr Moon. The track has an almost redemption-like quality to it, while continuing with the overall feel of pain and loss. The plaintive styling of “When the moon goes to sleep, she sleeps in your eyes…” has a finality to it, making you wonder just how much hurt one person can endure.
The polished complexity of “Pause For The Jets” is distilled down to its essential core with the minimalist approach McGee uses to capture the emotion of each of the tracks on “Spooky Jets.” The album stands alone on its merits, while still working as a companion piece to the previous album.
Fans of Earwig will thoroughly enjoy this rendering, while new fans will appreciate the emotion McGee puts forth with this stripped-down version. This album is a “must have” for your collection.
Lizard McGee – Silverheels