This album from The Lemon Twigs pays homage to the classic rock icons of golden eras past. What it’s done is to churn it up, and modernise it.
Written by: Explorer
ARTIST: The Lemon Twigs
ALBUM: Songs For The General Public
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Brian D’Addario – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, trumpet, violin * Michael D’Addario – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, percussion
TRACK LISTING: 01 Hell On Wheels * 02 Live In Favour Of Tomorrow * 03 No One Holds You (Closer Than The One You Haven’t Met) * 04 Fight * 05 Somebody Loving You * 06 Moon * 07 The One * 08 Only A Fool * 09 Hog * 10 Why Do Lovers Own Each Other? * 11 Leather Together * 12 Ashamed
The Lemon Twigs are in fact the D’Addario brothers who are from Long Island, New York. They came to my attention with their 2018 album ‘Back To School’. I was drawn to it through Todd Rundgren waxing lyrical about their prodigious/precocious talents, as well as the rock press lauding them as the ‘Next Big Thing’, and of course their glam image.
That particular release was their second album, their first being ‘Do Hollywood’ in 2016. ‘Back To School’ was a rather confusing and ultimately unsatisfying release, with a crazy concept about a Chimpanzee being raised as a boy and then burning down his local school. It contained a set of songs that were mainly in my view, unfocused, with a scatter shot approach, but within all that there were some quite thrilling moments, just not enough of them that’s all.
The Lemon Twigs see themselves as a modern day classic rock band which are heavily influenced by the Melodic Rock/Power Pop of the 1970’s, and I’m thinking of the likes of Wings, Supertramp, Big Star, et al here, and also with a dash of Broadway theatricality to spice it all up. I’ve been confused by this band more than any other, and repeated listens of their first two albums still has me sitting on the fence. So will this new release clear up any misgivings I have about the band? Read on.
My initial thoughts were this is just more of the same, Unfocused yet very ambitious, but lacking any sort of depth. But, now here is where it gets interesting. Repeated plays have changed my mind somewhat. Not completely as there are at times some real cringeworthy moments. I’ll come to those as I go on.
There are 12 tracks that cover a myriad of styles. Opener ‘Hell On Wheels’ is a great sweeping, panoramic song, but spoiled by the quite ridiculous lead vocal, yet still has a really uplifting catchy chorus. ‘Live In Favor Of Tomorrow’ is a dreamy head rush of Power Pop and is bang on the money, with a real authenticity about it, and does demonstrate their understanding of the genre.
‘No One Holds You’, is a decent slice of soft glammy pop/rock, with echoes of McCartney contained within and the slightly limp tune is held together with an ambitious arrangement that had me thinking of Jellyfish at times.
‘Fight’ is a rather campy pastiche of 70’s Bubblegum Pop which surprisingly does work, but it’s left up to ‘Somebody Loving You’ to really grab my attention, with a falsetto vocal and a chorus to absolutely die for, and its Queen like arrangement that gives the song a directness which others on show here lack at times.
‘Moon’ and ‘The One’ the latter being the lead single, are tunes that blend all of the brothers influences. I can hear Elton John in there at times, and both hit my sweet spot. ‘Only A Fool’ is the sort of thing that Todd Rundgren would rip out with consummate ease during his early 70’s heyday.
‘Hog’ is a torch song with a languid ambience that revisits the areas of pop that the likes of the maverick Scott Walker would occasionally indulge in. ‘Why Do Lovers Own Each Other’, really spoils the flow, and comes across as a rather insipid children’s nursery rhyme, and it’s hard to figure out if they are taking the piss here or not.
‘Leather Together’ gets it back on track, well sort of. It comes across as a somewhat hackneyed, watered down version of The Buzzcocks meeting the The New York Dolls on a dark night, and the closer ‘Ashamed’ steals directly from ‘Auld Lang Syne’, and is a little directionless and a downbeat ending to an album that in the main has won me over.
The Lemon Twigs album pays homage to the classic rock icons of golden eras past. What it’s done is to churn it up, and modernise it. Does it all work? No it doesn’t, but there’s enough here to make me think that along the line somewhere they have a really decent consistent album in them, this just isn’t it.
So I still haven’t made my mind up about these guys. In putting them in my playlist I remarked about them being either the Next Big Thing or the Emperor’s New Clothes, but I think I’ll leave it up to the Iconic Jellyfish, with one of their celebrated song titles ‘The King Is Half Undressed’, which I feel best describe my feelings towards them. The Lemon Twigs in my opinion are close to being a formidable musical force, but just not quite yet.