Dunedin quartet Alizarin Lizard releases their accomplished second album Do You Just Want Me To Watch You? this week. Gavin Bertram reports.
Paul Cathro is joking when he says playing live 10,000 times has helped Alizarin Lizard - but the truth's not far off.
Over the last few years the Dunedin band has been touring like crazy, clocking up hundreds of shows on extensive national tours.
It's helped them become a tight unit not only on stage, but also in the studio. Alizarin Lizard's sophomore album Do You Want Me To Watch You? is evidence of that.
Released this week, the multifaceted pop album is an accomplished follow up to early 2012's The Weekend Went Without You.
"We wanted to put some time into this record, " songwriter Cathro says.
"We just thought we really want to but a bit more into this one and experiment a lot more."
The album was mainly recorded in 2012, around the multiple tours Alizarin Lizard undertook, but some of it was derived from demos that Cathro had previously recorded in his bedroom. He says they remained the central reference for the album.
"If I've already written some parts we'll take them into consideration, " Cathro says.
"Often it'll just be me going 'this is what I've got' and everyone goes from there. It's always surprising."
Do You Want Me To Watch You? benefits from the lush mix of Andy Straight, and the mastering of Tex Houston. There are beguiling vocal harmonies, unexpected instrumentation including flugelhorn, and fantastic arrangements.
There are also Cathro's oblique lyrics, offering curious vignettes of everyday life. There's the hilarious domestic dystopia of Ash in Her Blankets for example, or the creepy Lolita scenario described in Forty.
"I do put a lot of thought into lyrics, but I don't really know how it happens, " the frontman says.
"Often they don't make sense, but they're all based on an idea. I take a lot from my surroundings
and what goes on. They just seep in really."
With the album in hand, Alizarin Lizard is looking forward to even more touring in 2013.
The long tours, which can exceed 40 dates, are the work of keyboardist Logan Hampton. Although he wasn't a member when the band formed in late 2008, since he joined they've gained momentum.
"Logan came along and took the reins of pushing us out there, " Cathro says.
Who: Alizarin Lizard, Brown
Where: ReFuel, Otago University
When: Tonight, 9pm