The Lemon Twigs – Songs for the general public (sealed EU import)
Brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario perfected a specific kind of fractured power pop as the Lemon Twigs, drawing on a spectrum of ’70s influences that included glam, FM radio chart-toppers, and a heavy dose of musical theater. Their 2018 concept album Go to School took every idea over the top and included cameos from Todd Rundgren and Big Star‘s Jody Stephens, two of the heroes they emulated in their music. Third album Songs for the General Public isn’t tied to any grand concept, but continues the Twigs’ tendencies towards shiny hooks, bombastic production, and bold-faced worship of ’70s influences. At first, the album feels a little too similarly structured to Go to School. Much like its predecessor, Songs for the General Public begins with a Meat Loaf-styled barnburner, this time around taking the form of the full-throttle chamber rock number “Hell on Wheels.” “Live in Favor of Tomorrow” is a sweet slice of gliding melodic pop, but it’s well-tread territory for the Lemon Twigs. When the album gets to third track “No One Hold You (Closer Than the One You Haven’t Met),” however, hints of development start showing. The song is directly cribbed from Billy Joel‘s mid-’70s hot streak, from the vocal inflections to the piano-heavy melodic shuffling the song is built on. Wobbly bass synthesizers and melodramatic backing vocals sit low in the mix and push the song into weirder places than a faithful Billy Joel emulation would allow for. Moments like this, the whispery synth funk elements of “Somebody Loving You,” and the jerky time-signature shifts of the lightly proggy “Only a Fool” are where the band expands on their overstuffed power pop sound. Each of the 12 tracks on Songs for the General Public takes a slightly different approach without losing the thread of songwriting weirdness unique to the D’Addario brothers. The Lemon Twigs have always had similarities to Foxygen‘s style of exactly replicating specific details of their classic rock obsessions. Where Foxygen tend to jump between dozens of these micro-references per song, Songs for the General Public presents a more focused version of this rock & roll idolatry. Each song recalls the essence of a specific segment of ’70s pop excellence, with just enough bizarre twists thrown in to keep things interesting. Mint.
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