Posted by: will | October 30, 2006

The Lemonheads…

The Lemonheads “The Lemonheads” (Vagrant)

Buy it at Insound!

It feels as though The Lemonheads never left me. This album transports me way back in time. There were many days I spent listening to the band’s early ninety albums like It’s A Shame About Ray and Come On Feel The Lemonheads. But Evan Dando faded away for the most part over the last decade. So, when I heard that Dando was back under The Lemonheads moniker with members of The Descendents as his backing band, I was excited, yet somewhat skeptical. Could Dando recapture his form or would this album just be flat and watered down?

Evan Dando is quite simply a pop craftsman. If you are looking for anything more from Dando and The Lemonheads you will come up disappointed. Dando proves that he can still spin some great pop tunes. So it’s a surprise that two of the best songs on this album, “Become The Enemy” and “Steve’s Dad”, were actually written by long time Descendents/All drummer Bill Stevenson who now mans the skins for The Lemonheads. Having Dando sing the words certainly makes it much more affecting though. It’s not to say that Dando doesn’t write some great tunes here himself. “In Passing” and “Pittsburgh” sound like they could have easily fit in on earlier Lemonheads albums. “Rule Of Three” is downright jumpy and it shows how the musicianship of Stevenson and Stephen Egerton also of All/Descendents fame have accented Dando quite nicely. The centerpiece of The Lemonheads is certainly “No Backbone”, which showcases some of Dando’s best songwriting with some wonderful guitar work from J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. leading the way. The song is an instant Dando classic. There are some subtle missteps on The Lemonheads though. The awkward “Let’s Just Laugh” is only saved by it’s infectious chorus. “Baby’s Home” just sounds out of place with its morbid lyrics that sound in line with the tounge in cheek nature of The Descendents but not necessarily The Lemonheads. And the album closer “December” seems messy and drags on too long. All in all though, this is a strong effort for a band that has been away far too long.

The Lemonheads will not overwhelm you but it proves that Dando still has it. A fact that certainly could have been argued before this album’s release. What is so simple and amazing about The Lemonheads first effort in ten years is the fact that it sounds remarkably like The Lemonheads. Some may scoff at that. Me though? Hell, I’m smiling.

RIYL: The Replacements, The Descendents, Dinosaur Jr.

Listen:

The Lemonheads – No Backbone (mp3)

The Lemonheads – Become The Enemy (mp3)

www.myspace.com/thelemonheads

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