Tag Archives: Lemonheads

468. Lemonheads – “It’s a Shame About Ray”

Here’s an 18-year-old album that I’ve actually listened to a lot in the past few months.

The CD’s never gathered much dust since Dando and co created a wave of indie-slacker-pop back around 1992-3.  However, the recent ‘playing the album in entirety’ show in Melbourne got me listening to it with newfound intent.

And I was happy.  Still am.  This is album has never tried to be anything more than what it is – a slightly sloppy collection of folky power-pop built around some neat little riffs, some decent rhythms and some deceptively tight vocals.

Of course, this almost qualifies as an Aussie release, given that many of the strongest songs on the album came from the pen of Tom Morgan (of Smudge fame).  His approach gels perfectly with Dando’s, with both favouring the cascading vocal as pop hook.

The albums lacks a big single (my version doesn’t have the Mrs Robinson cover), yet each and every track is memorable.  From the baby stroller anthem Rocking Stroll to the infectious Rudderless, the portentious My Drug Buddy to the effusive Alison’s Starting to Happen, it’s a soundtrack to a sunny slacker lifestyle:

As I was typing this review, Australia just kicked their 3rd goal in the Asian Cup semi… I reckon Dando was equally chuffed when he recorded this album.  Or he should have been.

File under: Everybody loves Raymond

467. Lemonheads – “Hate Your Friends”

This is a rare album in my collection in that whenever I hear a track off it at random I really can’t work out who it is.

There is very little to connect this debut release to the subsequent breakthrough works from Evan Dando and associates.

Back in the day, the Lemos where yet another hardcore-ish punk band, trying to channel some of that Hüsker Dü energy.

They don’t hit any such heights however. They are a little closer to the Descendents in that the tracks scream along at rapid pace (and for short periods – most tracks run less than 90 seconds).  The songwriting has occasional moments where it steps beyond the simple.

As suits the genre, the sillier tracks have gre atersticking power (e.g. Rabbit and the charmingly Sid Vicious-does-My-Way-like version of a ‘classic’ I’ve heard far too often during my reviews, namely Amazing Grace).

What is missing here is any real hint of the softly slacker Dando voice.  He shares vocal duties from track to track, but it’s a struggle to pick which ones are his.  He doesn’t even take lead on the best track on the album:

So don’t pick up this album expecting to hear jangle-pop – it’s just low-rent punk.

File under: But there’s not much to like about them