Fifty Flavors Of Glue
By: Eric G.
After only one album and a few singles, New Zealand's Toy Love broke up way back in 1980, but leader Chris Knox and guitarist Alec Bathgate began a partnership that has lasted seventeen years under the moniker, Tall Dwarfs. The duo is a bottomless well of weird melodies and even weirder lyrics. Knox has gone on to create a name for himself with several amazing solo albums, but he and Bathgate reunite every few years to create a new slew of post-Beatles, psychedelic oddities on their four-track.
Fifty Flavors of Glue strays slightly from the duo's usual dose of harmony and wacked out drum loops. The arrangements are more conventional and the songs are less busy. Knox gets throaty with his vocals while Bathgate serves up lots of bluesy riffs. The Beatles influence looms like a long lost ghost, though, it's more "I Dig A Pony" than "Strawberry Fields." Their instruments still sound like toys even though the song structures are very loose, but their lo-fi aesthetic always gets the best of them.
Tall Dwarfs' songs are usually instant charmers, but some of these take a few listens to come around. Less than a third of the songs crack the three-minute mark, which is true to form, though, the band's signature silliness seems in short supply. The album ends on a self-deprecating yet wistful note: "Here we are and we're over the hill/the worst is behind us and the air is so till…over the hill and the future is fine/we have descended but what a great climb" ("Over The Hill").