With last year’s ’Do Hollywood’ the young D’Addario brothers that form the core of the Lemon Twigs charmed the world with their wide-eyed, theatrical and fun pop.
But with their new album, a rock opera about a monkey that gets adopted and goes to school, their honeymoon with the critics is over.
And it is easy to see why people now either seem to love or to hate, rather than just simply adore the band. ’Go To School’ is as hard to listen to as ’Do Hollywood’ was easy.
Long, story-focused, less catchy, and sounding like the illegitimate child of a Broadway musical and a 70s music hall performance in Brighton, this certainly is a mouthful.
In fact, ’Go To School’ reminds me of the original soundtrack version of ’Tommy’, the one with all the guest performances by Elton John, Jack Nicholson, Tina turner and so on. Except now the guest stars are Todd Rundgren, Jody Stephens and daddy D’Addario – people who feel more like survivors from the 70s than stars by now. In any case, the comparison isn’t flattering as the movie version of ‘Tommy’ isn’t very good – although the Who’s album version is.
In other words, ’Go To School’ sounds like the movie is the main event and not the music. Only, there is no movie.
Yet, the Lemon Twigs are making things difficult for themselves here in a very interesting way. When they could have just gone ahead and tweaked things from the previous album just a bit and landed safely as the new indie-rock wunderkinds, they have taken a left turn and gone full speed into something else.
Exactly what, I don’t think we know yet.
So while this is not their masterpiece, ’Go To School’ certainly shows their huge ambition and their willingness to risk what they have gained so far. It very clearly promises that there is much, much more to come. The album is also an exhilarating listen in its own right, as it really makes you sit up straight and wonder what the hell is going on. Certainly one of the best albums of the year.