The Bluesy riff is familiar, Lizzie & The Makers tell us. Yes, but on this second album, Dear Onda Wahl, it’s done with stunning style.
Band from NYC. Release number three. Just happens to be…
Cor! That slide is rough as a badger’ behind, a little piano under it and ghostly organ leading us to an opened out, blues drenched chorus. The guitar then wipes itself off for a cleaner slide solo—‘Lover By Proxy’ is a brilliant opener.
It’s a song Lizzie has told Hollywood Soap Box is, ‘A traditional Rock song with grooves that don’t necessarily sound traditional’.
But then listen to that snap of the drums and the keyboard sweeping with a skittish funk guitar. Adding a blazing Lizzie vocal, the title track brings to mind early Wendy & Lisa which is no bad thing. Particularly when the chorus is let loose on a choppy riff and blaring organ.
Lizzie & The Makers will tell us their music is grounded in Southern and English Rock, but there’s much more here.
Musical partner and guitariat Greg McMullan notes, ‘The textures are much more lush…and this time in the studio we actually experimented so much more…’
The dirt ingrained in this album is such a pull—the trading solos on ‘Les Idiots’, organ rearing up. Then the guitar challenging it whilst the band funk it up behind them; a real draw.
Take ‘Bottle’—a fluid country slide with a surprise at the bottom, a talk box harmonica line—what a brew.
Lizzie said to Hollywood Soap Box, ‘There’s a little more edginess and otherworldliness to this album…but still really rock ‘n’ roll.’
And that’s clear when listening to their debut Fire from the Heart of Man, which is far more straightahead.
Produced by long time Bowie guitarist Reeves Gabrels and Mario McNulty, whose resumé boasts Bowie and Prince, Dear Onda Wahl is recorded with all the leads hanging out.
McMullan tells us, ‘Definitely the stuff has been written for performance,’ and that visceral flash is apparent.
You would expect some simmering, anguished slow Blues too and ‘Magic River’ does that a little. It has atmosphere and the guitar sets a sweeping soundcape, but Lizzie’s full throated vocal clashes with that nicely. This all adds groove whilst subverting it.
And then we finish with the guitar blast, groove and oddly portentous ‘Mojo Hand’. There’s some Psyche but also a stop-start hip shaking Led Zep feel with squally guitars—what an ending.
The video for the song is a witchy forest fancy—rituals are observed whilst Lizzie has an innate sadness, almost apologising for what she must do.
And then smiling at the end as if to show us she was enjoying it all along.
In fact she hasn’t watched the last episode because she doesn’t want to think it’s over. That communicates itself to some wonderfully odd choices for Lizzie & The Makers here.
But this has to have something to work against and that Blues basis is there to subvert. When they want to just Rock, they do; when Funk is fusing, they let it.
Lizzie’s voice is a paean to her influences, among them Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and The Rolling Stones.
It’s both earthy and strong but with a caress inside and the band have such diversity, playing with artists such as Sade, Bernie Worrell and Greg Allman.
And Dear Onda Wahl? It’s a letter to a mythical person asking what it’s all about. It’s about to be played again. And again.