The Lemon Twigs – Songs for the General Public

The Lemon Twigs give us their tired, their poor,
Their huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of their teeming shore.

Let me start off by saying I love The Lemon Twigs, which is why I hold them to a higher standard than most other bands. I saw them play with a five-piece at the Georgia Theatre and it sounded like a fucking orchestra. There was so much power coming from the pop, I was mesmerized; in holy matrimony with the glowing glory of material presented. It was one of the most powerful and genuinely entertaining shows I’ve ever seen. There were so many riches lying naked on the sonic altar, it didn’t matter that the audience was horseshit. Maybe it made the experience better. More special.

The debut Twigs album Do Hollywood was rock ‘n’ roll, man. It was Glam with the dukes to back it up, and they were still in high school! Two kid brothers from Long Island showed the shit kickers of the world that there was something new worth making way for, and shit kickers don’t make way for just anybody. I hadn’t seen rock in this genre that unapologetically true to its form since the glory days of Big Star and T. Rex. The sophomore album Go to School went even bigger and hit a grand damn slam. They accentuated the duality of each brother: the geeky but poetic-confidante drama school balladry of brother Brian, paired with the zany, wired, beauty king numbers of brother Michael, and created a conceptual musical about an adopted ape who’s integrated into human society. It’s fucking crazy, but it just might work! It was arguably the best album of 2018.

They set the bar insanely high, and went sort’ve radio silent after the last tour. It made me wonder if they were buckling down on another masterpiece or just taking a break. Songs for the General Public is definitely a break of an album. It’s not bad by any stretch of imagination, I might even praise it if it were the first I’d heard of them, but it adds almost nothing to the discography as a whole. The singles are nice, good licks and such, but they don’t leave much of a lasting or particularly memorable feeling. The only song that’s really worth humming ’round is the opener, “Hell On Wheels.” It’s got a nice rusty firebird mix and a schizophrenic take on a Jagger/Dylan amalgamation. I look forward to hearing that and maybe the first single offer “The One” live. Nothing else. Sure, the songs sort of keep my attention and there’s some nice melody and they’re real nice boys but but but but… you get the idea…

YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS

I for one can’t wait for the next Lemon Twigs album, as I will be practically erasing this from my memory. I understand a dud is due eventually, and they didn’t put much thought into this guy either so I don’t think their feelings are too hurt, because when they really put their heart and soul into the music, it shows.

Oh how it shows.

The Lemon Twigs
Songs For The General Public
[4AD]