Reviews of Lovey
Edwin Pouncey - NME 25th August 1990
It’s probably too ironic that, just when the Lemonheads were getting somewhere, things started to abruptly shake apart. The amicable departure of founding member Jezze Peretz for a career in film-making must have knocked Evan Dando for a loop, especially when their spirited version of Mike Nesmith’s ‘Different Drum’ had received such high praise from all and sundry (this writer included).
Peretz also leaves behind a major label deal, for which this LP is the first fruit. He should worry though… ‘Lovey’ is a wonderful record to walk away from, a treasure of an LP that opens up the more you play it to flood the soul with an almost excruciating joy. Lemonheads squeeze!
Those who found ‘Different Drum’ too poppy for their taste can take heart in that the songs on ‘Lovey’ had a slightly rougher edge to them. The pop element is still in force but there’s a brashness here that playfully slaps back and demands your full attention as it casually starts to tear your speakers apart.
Like Hüsker Dü when they were at their most ferocious or REM when they were at their most Byrdsian hypnotic, Lemonheads play as one to get their message across loud and clear. Even when a lead guitar breaks loose from the whirlpool of sound that’s whipped up on ‘Come Downstairs’ it is soon sucked back before straying too far from the main body of the band.
‘Different Drum’ fails to make an appearance here. Instead Lemonheads chose to cover Gram Parsons’ ‘Brass Buttons’, a song which they quietly strum out and resist tampering with too much, a quiet interlude before breaking into ‘(The) Door’. Here the full fury and magic of Lemonheads is unleashed as wave after wave of guitar crescendo crashes down around you to make your heart pound with excitement and a longing for more of the same treatment.
Unfortunately that’s all there is. Lemonheads leave you with ‘Answering Machine Message’, a sampled crank call that is both eccentric and surreal. It’s one hell of a way to sign off what must surely be…Album Of The Autumn!
Mark Morris - Select 1993
Between the ramshackle punk of the early Lemonheads albums and last year’s masterpiece ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ there was ‘Lovey’.
Recorded shortly after the release of their one-off Roughneck indie-hit – a cover of Michael Nesmith’s ‘Different Drum’ – It’s an odd record, a patchy affair where a fine maudlin ballad like “Ride With Me” can be followed by the jokey hard rock of “Li’l Seed”. It was the Lemonheads’ first record for a major, and the first one where Evan Dando (a man who knows as much about band line-up changes as Mark E Smith) was in complete control.
There’s some good stuff here. Even the weaker songs, marred by ugly rawk guitar, are lifted by Dando’s voice with its neat trick of sounding confused and wise all at one. Certainly this was a testing record with the ‘Heads throwing off the narrower parameters of hardcore that had marked their ‘Hate Your Friends’ days.
“Ride With Me”, and “Stove”, one of Dando’s domestic short-story songs, stand alongside anything he has written. And the obligatory cover is a tender rendering of Gram Parsons’ “Brass Buttons”, a telling omen of things to come.
“Lovey” is the sound of a band at a crossroad. Hindsight tells us they took the right turn.