Review of The Lemonheads
From Contact Music, October 2006
It's a sad truth that, by the time The Lemonheads made it huge in the 90s (not coincidentally about the same time that Nirvana were making it), they were already starting a quality decline. Their classic It's A Shame About Ray was perhaps their high water mark, and it is with some relief that this new album, 10 years after their last, matches it for perhaps three quarters of its length.
Frontman Evan Dando has released solo albums in the meantime, but there's no doubt that this is a full band affair. Songs like No Backbone just sound like The Lemonheads used to - a gloriously melodic take on grunge (especially when Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis's solo kicks in). This is supremely electric rock - the beats are energetically faster than you'd expect, the melodies thrown in with remarkable ease. Dando's voice is warm and clear, and his songwriting as effortlessly catchy as the Monkees. He also cedes writing duties to others on a handful of songs - they're all excellent too.
Putting out a self-titled album after all this time is an interesting move, but the disc really does sound like one that bridges their underrated breakthrough Lovey and It's A Shame About Ray.