Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Album Review: The Lemonheads - Come On Feel The Lemonheads

Evan Dando and co were on a bit of a high after the success of their It’s A Shame About Ray album.  This follow up album, released in 1993, is a sprawling 15 track affair, far longer than the previous album.  At its best it’s full of rollicking, power-pop guitar tracks.  It opens with one of these, the ebullient The Great Big No, Dando’s perfectly drawled vocals over slightly rough guitar pop.  Interestingly the poppiest moment on the album, Into Your Arms, was actually written by The Hummingbirds.
Listening to this album now it feels very much like an early nineties timepiece.  It’s About Time is a glorious, sun-dappled strum, seemingly about Dando’s unconsummated relationship with Juliana Hatfield (who chimes in wonderfully on backing vocals).  Down About It has a great melody but it’s played at breakneck speed, almost too fast.  Seek out acoustic versions of this song which really allow it to breathe.
Speaking of songs breathing, Paid To Smile is a pretty mid-paced, vaguely country song.  They dial the country right up on Big Gay Heart, where Dando takes a tune and vocal right out of Nashville save for the gay-referencing lyrics which would never make it to the Grand Ole Opry.
Style, and it’s slowed-down cousin Rick James Style are two of the few mis-steps on the album, which is full of rocking melodies delivered in two minutes such as Rest Assured, Dawn Can’t Decide and You Can Take It With You.  Charming, slower tunes Being Around and Favourite T feature Dando’s heartfelt vocals with some admittedly cringe-y lyrics “if I was a booger, would you blow your nose?”.  Final track, the FIFTEEN minute The Jello Fund is a complete mess, with random studio noises battling with hard-rocking riffs.  It’s not really worth bothering with, the album would have been better without it.
The album deserves a relisten, at its best it’s as good as anything on its predecessor.