Review of The Lemonheads
by Neil Ferguson
From Philadelphia Weekly 6th September 2006
A Slice of Evan
Our former music editor has a man crush.
So there I was, just last week, plowing through a mountain (perhaps “mountain” is a little hyperbolic, a not inconsiderable hillock, if you will) of promo CDs, growing increasingly desperate in my attempt to find some much needed aural loving. I wasn't asking much - just something to lighten up an otherwise deeply tedious day - and it seemed I was, as the saying goes, shit out of luck.
And then, just as a deep, dark, overwhelming cloak of depression was about to envelop me, I chanced upon an unremarkable looking CD - cut-price artwork, a sickly, lurid shade of sherbet pink, adorned by a vaguely familiar face - and bugger me sideways if it wasn't Evan Dando and a new album by the Lemonheads.
My mood immediately lifted; indeed, I practically skipped around my desk like a giddy schoolgirl and I'm not ashamed to admit it. You see, I've always loved the much maligned Lemonheads and consider Dando to be one of the finest perfect pop practioners of his or any other generation. Which, among certain cross sections of the indie rock cognoscenti, has never been one of the most popular or fashionable points of view.
Even at the height of his fame during the early to mid-'90s, as indie rock's resident poster boy and prize drug monkey, he was invariably looked down upon as a preening pretty boy, a spoiled brat coasting on good looks and bullshit.
And there are certainly elements of truth there, but anyone who can knock out the utterly joyous triumvirate that was Lovey, It's a Shame About Ray and Come on Feel the Lemonheads while coming on like a vaguely deranged combination of Gram Parsons, Dennis Wilson and a young Jeff Bridges is okay in my book.
Looking back, a vast amount of the (predominantly male) hatred can be put down to outright jealousy - torrents of bile spewed by self-loathing, socially retarded gimps driven to distraction by their complete and utter inability to get laid. (At this point I should also point out that some of my less charitable associates over the years have frequently accused me of having a long-standing man crush on Dando. They might have a point there.)
But I digress. What about this sparkling new self-titled album? Quite simply, it's great. No, really. It's highly unlikely to win any fresh converts, and it's not going to set the charts on fire, nor is it likely to return Dando to the big leagues. But if you were ever a fan, you'll love it.
Eleven tracks of bruised, smoldering power-punk-pop, country overtones, a voice to die for and fellow Massachusetts native (and Dinosaur Jr. hero) J Mascis adding his patented guitar squall.
That's about all you need to know. The Lemonheads won't change your life by any stretch of the imagination, but for 35 minutes or so, your world will become a much better place - and you can't say fairer than that.