The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads

The Lemonheads, The Lemonheads

After being subjected to wave after wave of pseudo new wave/indie rock/’80s inspired (Note: As I am sure half of said bands were barely born in the ’80s, I feel compelled to inform you that this reference to the ’80s sound is merely a reference point and in no way implies that I believe these bands sound anything like good music) pop bands, I could not be more ecstatic to inform those of you who didn’t already know that The motherf-ing Lemonheads are back on the scene!

Their first release in over a decade, The Lemonheads proves that Evan Dando still has what it takes to make a pretty darn good record. To anyone who has followed Dando’s career for the last 20 years, you know that he’s been all over the musical map. I have to say, it’s really good to see him coming home to his Lemonheads roots and stirring things up a wee bit.

There should be rules drafted up on how to approach listening to a newly released album of a band you grew up listening to and haven’t heard from in a really long time. Do you listen to it hoping you’ll hear exactly what you used to love about the band? Do you listen to the album and wish for a new and well-executed vision? One of the worst feelings a music lover can have is the one s/he experiences after popping in a new album from a beloved band and having that album suck pure arse.

With all that in mind, I was excited but apprehensive about taking a listen to The Lemonheads. You see, I have a lot of love for the band and a great deal of respect for Dando as a musician. I wanted to fall head over heels for the album. Actually, I just really wanted to be vindicated for saying that The Lemonheads has always been and will continue to be a really great band. Praise something holy-like for Dando & Co. making me not have to eat crow!

There isn’t anything terribly unique or altogether stylistically new for Dando or the Lemonheads sound, but The Lemonheads is a spot-on throwback to the old days. Dando’s random, rhyming (at times) lyrics and dreamy voice takes me back to the days of Reality Bites and flannel shirts. The addition of Descendents drummer Bill Stevenson and bassist Karl Alvarez gives The Lemonheads that pop-rock edginess that makes songs like “No Backbone” and “Let’s Just Laugh” so good.

The trio’s collaboration really works. The music complements Dando’s seasoned voice and style remarkably well. One of the things that made the old Lemonheads records so awesome was how silly and strange the lyrics were — yet how they somehow managed to make a statement every now and then (“Big Gay Heart” off of Come On Feel The Lemonheads comes to mind). The Lemonheads definitely stayed true to that concept and this time around even showed a little insight. “December” is my personal favorite song on the album. The music is fast-paced (you can really hear Stevenson rocking out) towards the beginning and then just sort of decrescendos in the middle and chills while the band jams out and lets you soak in the sounds.

Overall, The Lemonheads couldn’t be a better reintroduction to the band. The album proves The Lemonheads’ timelessness, as well as Dando’s ability to continue making terrific music with pretty much anyone who’s willing to play along.

(Vagrant Records -- 2118 Wilshire Blvd. #361, Santa Monica, CA. 90403; http://www.vagrant.com/; Evan Dando -- http://www.evandando.co.uk/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Tuesday, November 14th, 2006. Filed under Reviews.

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