Review of The Lemonheads
by Rob Fitzpatrick
From The Word October 2006
What do you do when you have everything? You carry on, holler The Lemonheads.
The last time I saw Evan Dando he had fought through a packed crowd at a Buffalo Tom show - yes, it was rather a long time ago - only to take to the stage and proceed to steal the show from under them. Was that Kurt's old raincoat he was wearing? Eventually the band everyone had paid to see just kind of wandered off and left him to it.
He then charmed the entire room, while being clearly so high he was unable to uncross his own eyes. Everyone loves Evan. That's just how it is.
In a recent issue of The Word he was described as "the Gram Parsons who survived", which seems as neat a summation of the man's remarkable self-preservation instincts as you're every likely to read. Blessed with looks, money, status and talent, Dando is a person so secure in the knowledge that someone, somewhere would always be there to pick up the pieces and put him back together he felt entirely comfortable writing songs about just how nice it was to hang out with your girlfriend and plough happily through mountains upon mountains of drugs.
That was then, of course. And this is another juicily bittersweet Lemonheads album. It is very good. If you have ever liked the Lemonheads theres lots you will enjoy here. And, clearly, there has been no radical rethink of the game plan. It's mid-tempo, hair-shaking indie rock from the man who's been making mid-tempo, hair-shaking indie rock for nearly a quarter of a century. While listening to this record, I have begun to think of Evan Dando as Neil Young with no outside hang up, and significantly better teeth. I hope this helps.
So, Black Gown is scratchy power-pop, Pittsburgh and Rule Of Three and Let's Just Laugh are classic Dando, the sort of pumped-up, hyper-melodic, strum-a-longs that will ensure the bands many fans have some new material to bounce around to at gigs. In Passing is the skip-worthy waltz-time number. Steve's Boy is great and No Backbone - featuring J Mascis - sounds like Buffalo Tom. Only better. In 2006! Who'd have thought it?