Setting the bar at terrifying new levels for annoying-ness, LA rich kid duo the Lemon Twigs manage to invoke '70s Paul McCartney to such a face slapping degree that the album should come with a bonus aloft thumb. They also recall preposterous '90s power pop revivalists Jellyfish in their love of dressing up like extras from Blackadder while worshipping at the leg of Emitt Rhodes.
Vinyl LP £15.75 CAD3650
LP on 4AD.
- Includes download code
CD £6.99 CAD3650CD
CD on 4AD.
Has anyone ever sat down and thought to themselves "I really want to hear a full album of Paul McCartney whimsiest moments as sung by two LA rich kids whose entire purpose in life is to be as annoying as humanly possible"?
Well if you have then this album is for you. It takes the music hall tweeness of McCartney at his 'When I'm 64' worst and marries it to the kind of complicated nod-and-a-wink retro pop that 10CC dabbled with on very bad days. Both 'I Wanna Prove it To You" and "Those Days Is Comin' Soon" have a jolly oompah - like spirit and they lurch and twist and turn in all the wrong directions. It's like waking up and finding yourself in some kind of dayglo musical theatre.
The thing is the Lemon Twigs seem to access to all the pop moves that have made records by Emitt Rhodes, Jellyfish and Smile-era Beach Boys so interesting but they use them for ill and not good. They are so self consciously wacky that when they veer into some kind of unlistenable circus music on the truly irritating 'Haramoota' you are ready to wrap them around the head with a rolled up newspaper. When they tone this down they make slushy ballads that seem to have been piped in from 1974 but at least they are harmonic and show a flair for melody. On 'How Lucky Am I' they at least sound genuinely crestfallen.
The rest is various shades of piano-led wack-pop - sometimes sounding a little like Sparks ('Frank' in particular has the brothers Mael sticky fingers all over it), the pretty good closer 'A Great Snake' reminds me of those near impenetrable Fiery Furnaces albums where you just wish they'd straighten up a bit. There's no doubt these guys have the musical key at their disposal - there are enough good chord changes in here and earworm interludes to prove it- but they slather their compositions in dreadful cheap synths, idiotic tempo changes a knees-up daftness and a kind of ironic whimsy that suggests they are possibly doing nothing more here than taking the piss.
8/10 Daniel 28th October 2016
A great debut - some lovely catchy tunes, beautiful chord changes, nice vocal harmonies. Of course there are three or four standout tracks and some not quite as good, but this is the sound of two brothers and some friends having fun with music and sharing it!
9/10 Jen Rodriguez 12th October 2016
I really don't get your review at all. You've missed the point entirely. These lads have created something unique and joyful and if you could let go of your prejudices perhaps you could go along for the rollercoaster ride. I think you're first assumption is that they are entitled white boys with the audacity to think they can create a masterpiece in the style of their heroes. When all they set out to do (from my perspective) was what they love in the spirit of what they have been exposed to all their lives. If you ever listened to an interview or read about them, you might know that. By the way, you got the facts wrong, they grew up in a strictly middle class suburb of NYC and are not privileged LA kids. Now down to the music. I could listen to this album over and over. In fact, it gets better with listening. Amazing melodies, harmonies, musicianship, complexity, and yes, it's wackadoodle, it's bonkers, it veers into different timings and styles and does not follow your typical pop/rock structures. It's innovative and fresh and takes the piss outta ya--these are cheeky boys! There is definitely a freedom borne of Zappa. The kind of musical vocabulary these young men have acquired already at such a young age deserves kudos as does their decision to go with the spontaneity and creativity of the moment as opposed to crafted pop designed to appeal, which is what every current pop sensation does with the aid of twenty of the same songwriters used over and and over again. I am glad there are so many professionals in the music biz that honour the uniqueness and creative freedom they represent because I want them to remain inspired. I can't wait to see what they do next.
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