Album Reviews

The Lemon Twigs – Songs For The General Public

(4AD) UK release date: 21 August 2020


The Lemon Twigs - Songs For The General Public Two years on from their breathtakingly ambitious 15-track rock opera Go To School (a concept album about an adopted chimp, no less), no one can accuse power-poppers The Lemon Twigs of dialling things down. Sounding something like Ziggy Stardust performing an outtake from Bat Out Of Hell, Songs For The General Public is an unapologetic continuation of the D’Addario brothers’ signature bombastic, ’70s-worshipping glam rock.

Full-throttle opening track Hell On Wheels evokes images of a sepia-soaked Cadillac ride with Bruce Springsteen at the helm. Meanwhile, overtly thespian number Moon starts with a harmonica solo before transitioning into full-on Elton John ballad territory. It should be no surprise to anyone that these leather-clad Long Islanders kicked off their career in musical theatre.

There’s the odd moment when we hear hints of the duo beginning to expand on their beloved nostalgic guitar pop, with the surprisingly delicate Ashamed standing out as a tender, string-speckled tribute to sibling love. And then there’s the proggy Only A Fool, complete with jerky time signature shifts and downtrodden lyrics meditating on the pain of a lost relationship.

At the heart of this album, though, is excess. From the knowingly melodramatic backing vocals to the wailing guitar solos and thumping rhythm sections found in tracks like No One Holds You (Closer Than You Haven’t Met), Brian and Michael D’Addario have deliberately constructed an over-the-top, sequin-studded pastiche of the artists they love. 

If shiny, overstated hooks and operatic melodies are your thing, stick on the Twigs’ latest LP right away and you’ll have a ruddy glorious time. But for many, Songs For The General Public will be an overwhelming, even frustrating listen. The brothers wear their huge list of influences so prominently on their sleeves that it’s hard to put your finger on who they really are – and what they’re trying to say.


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