Lemonheads live at UEA, Norwich - 8th October 1993

Review by Holly Barringer from Melody Maker

Evan Help Us All

It's always intrigued me the way the validity of a piece of music can be measured by the width of your smile and the depth of you sighs as you scream down the motorway with the top down. Okay, if you drive fast enough and recklessly enough, anything will sound pretty f**king cool, but when you listen to it later, stationary, does it make you feel the same? Does that smile jump as readily to your lips when you think about doing it all over again?

As trivial as the involuntary contortions of a few facial muscles may seem, tonight The Lemonheads make me want to use them all - to screw my face up into one great big cheeser and leave it there. While they're on you can almost see the blurry green and blue scenery - the quick outdoors - sense the engine purring, smell the breeze tickling Evan's hair. Christ, they should just mount the whole bloody stage on wheels and let it roll.

I have moments of doubt, of course, as any irreverent person would. I'm quite prepared for Evan's teddy-bear gangliness to irritate the hell out of me, and his little-boy-lost banter to make me squirm like a hooked maggot. Happily, neither of these surface, although having revelled self-indulgently in the likes of "Into Your Arms" and "Drug Buddy", it would be impossible for me not to forgive him anything.

The perfect American indie band. Not a rare commodity; Belly and Buffalo Tom, among others, have seen to that. It's just that when you come across one, roll around in its exquisiteness, wear it like your favourite T-shirt (cue for a song!), everything makes sense. It's a simple treat. The world is worthwhile for a while. I mean it.

Evan Dando is the quintessential pop host. He is neither overbearing nor timid, just quietly appreciative of his audience, and actually rather sweet. (Shit, I fell for it. Damn). He has to be doing something right. I mean if the most annoying thing he can do is kind of stand there and fidget, then...

Smart melodies are ricocheting off the walls like ballistic sugar cubes. "The Great Big No", "Big Gay Heart", "Being Around"; one after the other they come and go and are fiercely enjoyed. They couldn't be the work of anyone else.

Only once is the sugar burnt, in the form of the stunning, moody, "Style" (steady, Evan). He doesn't wanna get high, he doesn't wanna not get high. This is probably more provocatively poignant to most of us than we would like to admit. Whatever, I really don't care, because I like to think this might be a sign that The Lemonheads are inadvertantly regressing, regaining an edge, edging back towards "Lovey". Nice to think they might start to give us the best of both worlds, neat pop and a darker side. For now, though, we'll have to settle for sweetness. Bummer. Not.

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