Review of The Lemonheads
by John-Michael Bond

From Mammoth Press, 27th September 2006

Considering the Lemonheads rich history and the fact that the only record I’ve ever heard by them before this one was It’s a Shame About Ray, I may not be the best person to review this. However considering I am the biggest Descendents fan on the planet earth and that’s where Evan Dando found the rest of his band for this record, I’ll be damned if I don’t.

The Lemonheads found on the bands self-titled Vagrant debut sound like they’ve been playing together for years. This confidence in the song writing that makes the already somber songs just a little more heart breaking. Dando’s well publicized battle with drug abuse unavoidably frame each song’s ups and downs as the fruits of his sins, both past and present. Maybe it’s knowing, or at least thinking you know, what he’s been through that makes these songs so brutal to listen to. Frankly the lyrics found on The Lemonheads are some of the best of the year. Any Brand New fan’s out there who touch themselves at the mere though of new musings from Jessie Lacy should take note.

Sonically this record is more alt-country than the guitar pop of It’s a Shame About Ray, falling more in line with bands like Old 97’s and Lucero than anything else. The finger prints of Dando’s power pop past are all over these songs, but they all sound like they were written with an acoustic guitar on someone’s porch and a bottle of whisky on hand. One can’t help but feel a bit voyeuristic while listening to some of these songs, as they all seem deeply personal. However I can’t help but push myself past those feelings of intruding when I hear the guitars tang and the drums pound. I only wish more bands diary entries when this interesting.

9 out of 10


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