Last month, Canadian quintet Cartoon Lizard released their debut EP, Not Punk Not Raw, a joyous sequence of bright psychedelic pop that evokes the quirky shades and melodic buoyancy of stylistic siblings and/or inspirations like the Shins, Sufjan Stevens, Midlake, Perfect Beings, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Grizzly Bear, and of course, the Beach Boys and the Beatles. Arguably its most instantly appealing track is “All in the Cards”, a simultaneously nuanced and extravagant tune decorated with warm harmonies, enticing riffs, and fun percussion, all of which are enhanced by bizarrely charming visual storytelling in its official video.
Director Ryan Hache explains that the footage was “freestyled on 10-year-old clay with a hand-me-down camera and stolen paint”, concluding, “My process was like the little dude in the movie. A benign little wayward journey. No plan — just inspiration. At the end of things, all we have is celebration and those we love.” Co-founder Ritchie Hemphill adds that Hache’s “clay films are in a unique position because there are no obligations to any preconceived notion of form or viewer expectation. These films are unadulterated transmissions, coming from somewhere deep inside his psyche, with the middle man of logic not present to muddy the emotion up.”
Like many similarly quaint videos — as well as recent indie video games and animated features — there’s a lot of powerful emotion and ideas beneath the seemingly simple surface. Of course, its greatest feat is doing justice to the musical elegance it represents. Take a look and listen for yourself and see why Cartoon Lizard deserves to be a household name within the psychedelic pop family.