Review by Tim Southwell
Hair by Jacqueline Smith, bodies
by Sid Little, good God but Gumball are an unsavoury bunch. Lead singer/guitarist
Don Fleming is their main man, sporting a fetching red PVC jacket boasting
an STP badge on the back, his mop of curly brown hair falling over bloodshot
eyes as he plunders through a manic set of flatulent guitar grunge –
part Motorhead, part Ramones – the kind of stuff that has only two pre-requisites,
energy and a stern indifference to melody.
With song titles verging on ‘Gone Too Far For The Rockin’’ and choruses like “hey, hey” and “aarrrrggh!”, watching Gumball is like being confronted with a 57 course meal when a packet of Discos would have done. Mental maybe, but pure noise craziness is never enough.
Lemonheads look and sound like The Beach Boys in comparison, their songs (predominantly taken from the ‘Lovey’ LP) displaying at least a modicum of self respect and sophistication that is every bit as gritty and infinitely more accessible that the sheer headlessness of Gumball.
‘Half the Time’ relieves Lemonheads of their intermittent thrash metal obligations, its melody finding a soul mate in leader Evan Dando’s slur-don’t-sing vocals and whipping up a manic mod-ish feel. ‘Ride With Me’ proves an excellent live song, shaking off its vinyl sentimentality and emerging taller and harder, the guitar battle between Corey Loog Brennan and Dando proving a mesmerising reminder of the Lemonheads’ ability to thrill their audience – for stage diving read theatrical suicide, vacant eyed feedback urchins on a mission from Putney.
Lemonheads’ best song, ‘L’il Seed’, is a beauty live, Dando laughing out loud at society, espousing the merits of a little funky baccy. On their cover of ‘The Door’ Dando croons “Sometimes a man’s gotta say what he’s gotta say, even if it’s real bad news”. Without ever threatening to be the saviours of rock’n’roll, Lemonheads give you it all, the good, the bad and the not quite so ugly.