Although much of garage rock’s genesis can be traced back to the US and the UK, the past many years have often seen Nordic artists making some of the genre’s most compelling music. Case in point is Norwegian trio The Age of Colored Lizards, whose recent debut album Daydreamer is almost appallingly consistent in how simultaneously noisy and gorgeous its lo-fi, power chord-dominated, midtempo garage rock songs are. “If You Want Me Back,” the album’s third track, is its immediate calling card, a dirty, lively, melodic, brief gift from the holiest halls of the genre.
Almost immediately, “If You Want Me Back” introduces The Age of Colored Lizards’ warm, nasal vocals, which couldn’t be a more ideal match for the band’s beautiful, overdriven guitar mess. Garage rock has no shortage of vocalists whose singing might sound grating or just not enjoyable taken out of context, placed into another genre’s sonic environments, or heard without any accompanying instrumentation. The Age of Colored Lizards’ singing on “If You Want Me Back” at first sounds like another addition to this storied vault of garage rock vocals, but upon repeat listens, it becomes clear that the track’s vocals are actually quite beautiful, almost traditionally so.
As suggested by the track’s title, the subject matter is, of course, about a breakup. “If you want me back/I think I’m gonna crack,” goes the chorus, though it can be reasonably misheard as, “If you want me back/I think I’m gonna cry.” There’s something deeply human and universal about that post-breakup state where the possibility of reuniting with that now-distant romantic partner is as thrilling as it is debilitating, and the simultaneous joy and mania imparted by the song’s major-key chord progression and lo-fi, overdriven crunch, respectively, match these emotions to a tee. After hearing this song, pretty much anyone would want The Age of Colored Lizards back.