Pin It
Photos by Laurence von Thomas

Lizzie and the Yes Men

The dapper trio are mixing up surf rock with indie jingles

Lizzie and the Yes Men are something of an anomaly. Fronted by the striking Twiggy-esque electric blond haired frontwoman Lizzie, formerly of the PIAS signed band Bodies Of Work, and backed by a dapper trio of guitar plucking, drum stick wielding gents one expects to hear some slightly forgettable Mark Ronson-esque melodies and pop chart baiting doo-wop. What one gets instead is a strangely morish mix of the surf rock complete with catchy swing and harmonies a la The Beach Boys in a headlong collision with the angular pomp of ESG and Gang Of Four. Dazed caught up with Lizzie to talk Yes Men, angles and men wearing flip-flops...

Dazed Digital: So how’s it going?
Lizzie: The Yes Men are good, but I have lost my voice, part down to a full on rehearsal last night and part down to a bit of a cold. So could be better, but at least we nailed that tune!

DD: There seems to be a little bit of angular punk in your sound there. Was that intentional?
Lizzie: Not at all. Guess our British roots and musical attitudes can’t be disguised, even when trying to create a softer sound. We noticed quite early on that our sound was punkier than intended when we recorded a cover of the Beach Boys ‘Don’t Worry Baby’. We imagined, particularly with female lead vocals that it would sound really sweet and sentimental, but actually the end result was closer to a spoilt brat singing in daddy’s garage… but it worked.

DD: This seems to be a far cry from what you were doing in Bodies Of Work?
Lizzie: It is indeed. Bodies of Work was very much a collaboration between myself and the front man, Martin Bjorck, and the sound we created was developed over many years of working together and experimenting with ideas and sounds. I decided to start Lizzie and the Yes Men when I felt I had earnt my ‘musical stripes’ as it were. Lizzie and the Yes men is the band I dreamt of being in when I was a teenager. But it would appear I had some growing up to do first.

DD: What have you been feeling of late musically?
Lizzie: Loving Richard Hawley at the moment. Also Tommy James and the Shondells. Oh and just heard The Crying Shame’s ‘Please Stay’ on the radio. What an incredible voice Charlie Crane has. I have The La’s album on repeat at the moment too.

DD: Do you think of yourselves as part of the surf rock wave happening at the moment?
Lizzie: Errr, I heard there’s one happening… haven’t actually noticed it yet. If a band like Crystal Stilts or The Vivian Girls are part of that wave then I don’t think we fit the mould – saying that I do class Lizzie and the Yes Men as a surf band. I’d feel a bit uncomfortable being part of a scene or ‘wave’ because they often have very short lifespans. On the other hand, if people want to place us amoungst modern surf acts I’d be very flattered.

DD: Where are the Yes Men from?
Lizzie: Bassist Keir is from York, drummer Andy from London and guitarist Brenden is from Ireland. I picked them up in various bars around town. Ha ha! I thought it would take quite a while to find my Yes Men, but apparently the challenge of three part backing vocals, surf riffs and squeezing into tight suits was an easy sell.

DD: Any last words?
Lizzie: Men should never wear flip flops.

Lizzie and the Yes Men will be playing at We.Are.A Fever. at Centro, London with The Speak and The Spells on Wednesday April 21st.