Picks and Pans Review: Come on Feel the Lemonheads
This follow-up to last year's breakthrough album, It's a Shame About Ray, finds alternative rock Adonis Evan Dando and company on a roll, if an unusually relaxed one for this once-tumultuous trio. The preternaturally mellow singer-guitarist has finally managed to hold on to a rhythm section (drummer David Ryan and bassist Nic Dalton) for two consecutive albums; he says he recently kicked drugs; and he has whipped up a batch of 15 power-pop confections that confront issues of love, friendship, gender, drugs and violence with a resounding, heartfelt "Whatever."
Dando is one of the few men this side of Jean-Paul Gaultier's catwalk who is not afraid to wear a skirt. He writes (some with collaborator Tom Morgan) or sings from a female perspective on five songs. The album's most likely eyebrow-raiser, however, is "Big Gay Heart," a lovely country ballad in which the singer is a gay man who pleads quietly against violent bigotry ("Please don't break mah big gay heart") because it's, like, uncool. The songs are mostly cheery pop gems—with a handful hinting of the blue-haired punk rocker Dando once was—among them the ambivalent drug rave-up "Style," which also comes in a slower version, with support from volatile funkster Rick James.
Dando can afford to be so laid-back and easygoing as long as the Lemonheads keep squeezing out such refreshing songs so effortlessly. (Atlantic)"
Christmas conundrum: How do you make ye olde holiday ditties sound fresh? Turn them loose on a quirky assortment of musical artists and judge the results. Here is a sampling: