The Lemon Twigs Aren't Breaking Ground on 'Songs for the General Public,' but Their Classic Rock Remains Exciting
Published Aug 18, 2020It's been two years since the release of their 2018 rock opera, Go to School, but now — after a four-month delay brought upon by a pandemic — the Lemon Twigs' third LP, Songs for the General Public, is here. Because they've recycled the prime musical components of what made their first two records so splendid, this feels more like a compilation of greatest hits, rather than a cohesive album with a beginning, middle and end.
Having said that, by no means is it a dumbed-down collection from the Long Island-based rock duo. You get not only the signature theatrical power pop elements that make up their unique sound, but also a refreshing blitz of ideas that effectively showcase the musical dynamics brothers Michael and Brian D'Addario are capable of.
So was it worth the wait? Well, there are 12 brand new offerings on this album and fortunately, it's jam-packed with highlights, including: opening track "Hell on Wheels," "Fight," the highly thespian "Moon," infectious lead single "The One," and a bitter and comedic love song entitled "Hog." For the most part, these tracks are driven by twangy guitar melodies, Kubrick-esque synth hooks and a sometimes-overwhelming barrage of interlocked vocal harmonies. The drums are tight and the bass tracks are consistently groovy.
While none of the songs are bad, per se, there are a few — most notably, the fourth and latest single "No One Holds You (Closer Than the One You Haven't Met)," plus "Only a Fool" — which bear no clear direction, due to their chaotic and disorderly structures.
If you want enjoy it this album to its fullest potential, your utmost attention is required. At times, it offers the listener a bit too much and feels bloated. One moment you can hear inklings of Mick Jagger and a howling Iggy Pop accompanied by Elton John's backing band; the next, you might think you're listening to the Stranglers or a young Alice Cooper's take on Bat Out of Hell.
If you can properly digest the convoluted nature of Songs for the General Public, then you'll be glad you gave it a shot. While not groundbreaking, it's a revitalizing rock record that is bound to rekindle the excitement of taking a chance on a (relatively) new band. (4AD)