The Lemon Twigs – Go To School
- Sean Greenhorn
- 28 August 2018
Exciting album from young brothers out of Long Island, NY
If there is one criticism that gets levied at the Lemon Twigs (aka Brian and Michael D'Addario), it's that they are just a bit 'too much'. From their outlandish haircuts and outfits, to their kitschy music-hall singing and high-kicking live shows, it is not difficult to see why they have their detractors. Yet the brothers, taking this criticism on board, have decided not to run away from it, but instead double down for album number two.
Enter 'Go To School', a rock musical about Bill and Carol, a pair of actor-musicians who adopt a chimpanzee named Shane and raise him as their son. Featuring contributions from Big Star's Jody Stephens, Todd Rundgren and the brothers' own mother, it's 15 tracks of big, ornate pop rock with plenty of horns, woodwind and string arrangements.
The opening song 'Never In My Arms, Always In My Heart' lays out the album's tone from the moment it bursts in, with a memorable riff, hearts-on-their-sleeves vocals and glorious harmonies bringing to mind a Beach Boys-on-Broadway feeling. The album then continues in much the same way for the next 14 tracks, and, unfortunately. this ultimately becomes its downfall. Although the brothers show technical mastery of their instruments and a deft ear for music's past, their reluctance to let songs breathe, instead placing busy arrangement next to busy arrangement, makes Go To School an undeniably difficult listen at times.
Despite this, it's a lot of fun, and when it works, such as it does on mid-album high-point 'Queen of My School', it really works. It takes most rock bands at least two decades to work up the courage to attempt something on this scale, which makes the Lemon Twigs (currently aged 19 and 21) a very exciting prospect indeed. If Go To School shows us anything, wherever they go from here, it promises not to be boring.
Out now (4AD).