Noggin, “Lizard Brain” (Independent)

nogginNoggin’s new album, Lizard Brain, is a fun house of musical influences: You never know what’s going to jump out and you’ll be surprised at what does. Genre-bending doesn’t even begin to describe its landscape. It’s the Beastie Boys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sublime, TLC, No Doubt, ’50s R&B, death metal and big band swing all rolled into one. Did I mention that they have a French horn in the front line? While this might make it seem like a disjointed jumble, they actually blend these elements seamlessly and to great effect. The band calls this #brainmusic. I suppose it needs its own title at this point.

Eric Bernhardt can be snarky when singing and adept when rapping, and he stands out on sax in the band’s impressively tight horn section. Amber Mouton’s vocals are at turns early Gwen Stefani and TLC’s Left Eye when she’s rapping. She’s also responsible for those sweet French horn licks. This album is their creative baby, and it is cradled by a crew of seriously skillful musicians.

There isn’t a single weak area on Lizard Brain. From the heady, socially conscious lyrics to the excellent production and musicianship, they’ve created something fresh and exciting.