It’s been almost ten years since The Lemonheads disintegrated post Reading ’97, following frontman Evan Dando’s very public battle with drug addiction, and following a ‘Best of’ release by Atlantic, all went quiet on The Lemonheads front.
But, you can’t keep a good man down. A decade later, Dando is clean, coping with bipolar, and this week sees the much anticipated release of a brand new self titled album on Vagrant/Polydor.
Recorded in seclusion at Allaire Studios, NY, the album brought together two of Dando’s strongest influences, drummer Bill Stevenson (Descendents/Black Flag) and basist Karl Alvarez (Descendents), who along with Dando’s long term Australian colleraborator from Smudge, Tom Morgan, co-wrote an album of melodic, emotive and wonderfully reflective rock. The overall sound is wonderfully familiar, as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.
‘Become The Enemy‘ is already a mainstay on their live show, a husky break in Dando’s vocals, that overwhelmed feel to the lyrics adding to the pumped up guitars. J Mascis adds his scuzzy guitars to ‘No Backbone’ and ‘Steve’s Boy’. Other guests include Garth Hudson on keyboards and Josh Lattanzi on ‘Let’s Just Laugh’ adds to pumped up drawling power pop – its the kind of infectious animated and melodic tune that Dando and Co did so well in the 90’s.
It’s almost as thought Dando’s simply been on pause for the last ten years or so, and are back with an album that’s every bit as infectious and endearing at ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’. So often you dread a favourite band’s ‘come back’, but this is a welcome exception. If you were a fan back in the day – you’ll be happy Dando’s stayed true to his sound, and at only 35 minutes long, it’s a short but sweet return to form from Evan Dando. Long may it last.
Catch The Lemonheads on tour in the UK in October.
5th – Norwich, UEA
6th – London, Forum
9th – Leeds, Met University
10th – Oxford, Brookes University
11th – Cambridge, Junction
12th – Liverpool, Carling Academy
14th – Coventry, Coliseum
15th – Nottingham, Rock City
16th – Manchester, Academy 2
17th – Glasgow, ABC
21st – Bristol, Academy
22nd – Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall