Review of The Lemonheads
From The Detour
Why wait until your eighth album as a band for an eponymous title? Is Evan getting a little arrogant with age, or maybe he wants to distance this album from his solo work, or perhaps he's just running out of ideas? With such a hardcore fanbase though - check out evandando.co.uk for a truly great fansite - he can get away with churning out the same bittersweet pop rock tunes for the next 20 years and his followers, myself included, would still be happy.
Stylistically, the new album lies somewhere between 1990's 'Lovey' and 1992's 'It's a shame about ray mixing sublime melodies with a country twang and a punk edge. The songs are fantastically formed, the guitar work is simple yet clever and Dando's vocals are pitch perfect as ever. And at only 35 minutes long, it may not be great value for money but it leaves you hungry for more rather boring the listener with self indulgent noodling. Album opener, 'black gown', immediately shows the punk influences bought in by former descendants members Bill Stevenson and Karl Alverez before entering into another classic lemonheads chorus. Another highlight is 'poughkeepsie', opening with a country-blues riffs going seamlessly into an uplifting pop chorus which could easily fit in place on 'it's a shame about ray'.
On the downside, the first single to be released off the album 'become the enemy' has slightly to much of the MOR soft rock feel to it despite its clever guitar work. This is a strange single choice and not one of Evan's own songs.
Evan has always been a generous artist, showcasing his friends songs on his own albums because he believes it's the best way to get them out there. This is the case with 'No Backbone' which is penned by his old Smudge pal Tom Morgan who wrote 'Outdoor Type'. It's a melodic melancholy masterpiece that could be one of Evan's own and has the added bonus of guitar stylings from Jay Mascis.
Overall this album is neither original nor groundbreaking, but that has never been the point of the Lemonheads. After eight albums of melodic, country, punk pop rock this reviewer isn't tired yet. It's a case of familiarity breeding contentment.