Review of It's A Shame About Ray (2008 Reissue)
by Michael Bertin
From The Austin Chronicle 7th March 2008
Evan Dando loved heroin. The first time he tried it was in Australia, where he had gone to write songs for what would become 1992's It's a Shame About Ray, the Lemonheads' fifth album. It worked for a while, too. The first two-thirds of Ray might be one of the five or six finest documents of nongrunge melodic slacker angst. From opening "Rockin Stroll" through "Alison's Starting to Happen," Dando's sleepwalk vocals are the perfect foil to the wannabe Seattle-sound guitars. A cheeky cover of "Mrs. Robinson" was eventually tacked on to demonstrate how easily Dando could cross over to mainstream appeal. Sadly, mainline appeal was much stronger. Five years later, Dando was MIA, and Ray, which at one time appeared a natural outgrowth from the group's underappreciated Atlantic debut, Lovey, ended up the aberration in a short-circuited career of disappointments. Bonus demos and a DVD of videos and footage of Dando during his Aussie stint play mildly interesting, but they mostly remind one of how royally Dando fucked up what might have been.