Every once in a while, I hear music I just don't understand. I don't mean I don't understand the lyrics or the musical technique (that's actually much more common for my simple mind). I mean I don't understand how and why this music is coming from this artist in this moment. The Lemon Twigs have sufficiently fucked me up with their debut album Do Hollywood
; I honestly don't know where their album lands - it sounds somewhere between some lost label's greatest 60s and 70s hits and a full-length glam-rock opera. I'm baffled by the fact that two brothers from Long Island, in just 10 songs, made me think of bands like The Turtles, The Beatles, Supertramp, The Cars, you name it. Do Hollywood
spans generations and genres, touching on elements of power pop, baroque pop, sunny pop-rock, new wave, psychedelic, and virtually everything else you can think of in the history of rock.
The core of the Lemon Twigs is the D'Addario brothers, Michael and Brian, just 17 and 19 respectively. They've gained endorsements from the likes of Elton John, Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, who produced the album, and many at Beats 1 radio. At indie label 4AD, they find themselves on a roster that includes Grimes, Beirut, Purity Ring, and Iron & Wine among several others. Do Hollywood
charges into the rock scene armed with copious amounts of ambition, talent, and idiosyncrasy.
The album begins with a slap in the face - "I Wanna Prove To You" and its light, melodic sensibility brings you back to a time when simple pop rock thrived. Meanwhile, it is setting the stage for the chaotic, carnivalesque vibe that is solidified in the next few tracks and highlighted in "Haroomata." Alternating between slow, crooning interludes and the bright, fast pace of explosive instrumentation, it plays something like the first side of Sgt. Pepper's
. The core of the album lies in the back to back singles "These Words" and "As Long As We're Together." These singles, released over the summer, generated the hype that led the Lemon Twigs into their debut full-length release. While "These Words" builds from a soft intro into strong harmonies and bright synth-accented melody, "As Long As Were Together" maintains a more somber tone that sets the stage for the back end of the album. "How Lucky Am I?" is a soft piano ballad, followed by the polarity of withdrawn verses and driven choruses in "Hi+Lo." The final two tracks, "Frank" and "A Great Snake," are triumphant, long-winded testaments to the band's eager first-album expression of self.
The Lemon Twigs do not hesitate to explore the breadth of their musical influences and the nature of their creative headspaces. Amidst this exploration, they remain grounded by Michael's dynamic lead vocals, Brian's harmonies, strong basslines, and skillful drums. Lyrical themes lament love, ooze angst, and foreground the music with a simple vulnerability. There is a sophisticated ability to craft pure rock & roll in these young musicians, but they haven't chosen a simple path. They bring an energy, unique and captivating, that fuses the divergent elements of an extensive legacy of musical taste. I don't understand where The Lemon Twigs came from - I've considered the possibility that these guys actually traveled in time - but I understand that they're going their own way. It's funny how the most interesting new sound I've heard in a long time breaks down into so many echoes of old sounds. The best artists are the ones who bring us tastes that we're not used to in our present moment. We usually look to the future for these unusual tastes, but The Lemon Twigs have looked back, into the vaults of rock, and found inspiration to bring us a distinctive, fresh sound. Not so much ahead of their time, perhaps, as they are willfully and fortunately behind their time.
Listen to Do Hollywood
in entirety above, check out the awesome and eccentric music videos for "These Words" and "As Long As Were Together" below, and also don't miss the Lemon Twigs giddy Twitter account