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Songs for the General Public

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Aug 21, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


All of a sudden, you feel your eyes and ears working again. You reach out and you touch the walls. Lights flash on brightly and you immediately realize you’ve been dropped into a house of mirrors. You walk up to a distorted looking glass and your body stretches tall, short, wide, and thin. You walk to another and you see yourself as a completely different person. Music plays like a haunted carnival soundtrack overhead. You’ve found yourself physically inside the new record, Songs for the General Public, from the Long Island-based rock band, The Lemon Twigs.

The 12-song album is a metaphoric, eclectic house of mirrors, inside of which every song reminds of a different prominent musical act as if the listener is seeing themselves in some distorted reflection. The album’s opener, “Hell on Wheels,” recalls the voice of Mick Jagger and the off-kilter sonic storytelling quality of Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” Next, “Live in Favor of Tomorrow” offers a happy, rapid-paced jaunt fit for the beach and harmonies from The Beach Boys.

“No One Holds You (Closer Than the One You Haven’t Met)” imbues the melodic-marching quality of Paul McCartney. “Fight” is a long-lost Grease soundtrack with crooned questions about sex. “Somebody Loving You” is a twisted music box lullaby sung by The Kinks. “Moon” is a beseeching, theatrical display worthy of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “The One,” which opens the album’s second half and is its lead single, recalls guitarist Eric Clapton with its big, crescendo leads. “Only a Fool” sounds like a cross between The Chipmunks and The Beatles. And “Hog” is a blend of Tom Waits mixed with Perfume Genius dramatics.

The album’s final third kicks off with “Why Do Lovers Own Each Other?,” a lullaby about the divine and purposeless nature of love that breaks into a multi-voiced harmony reminiscent of Rockapella. “Leather Together” is perhaps the album’s most traditionally composed song, but even it sounds like a missing track from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The record’s final song, “Ashamed,” is maybe its strangest. But when dealing with the idea of shame, one of the most debilitating emotions, lyrics about embarrassing things are necessary. The track punctuates a surreal record that could overwhelm without proper, guided preparation. (www.thelemontwigs.com)

Author rating: 8/10

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