Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray

The Lemonheads are one of those bands that made a seamless transition from my childhood into my adult life. If anything, I like It's a Shame About Ray more now than I did then. Perhaps, because I grasp the lyrics about drugs, loss, love and growing up with greater understanding now than at age 11 when I first heard it. Or maybe because I really respect how they grew from a messy punk band into this incredible straight-forward rock band without ever losing that edge or punk sensibility. Whatever the reason, this record has continued to resonate with me for 15 years while many others didn't make the grade. At just under a half hour, every song on It's a Shame About Ray is as vital as the next. From the lazy dope scoring haze of "My Drug Buddy" to the budding love story of "Kitchen" and the need to play even the smallest role in someone's life of "Bit Part," no adolescent emotion or theme goes unreferenced. The songs are concise and undeniably catchy, full of hooks and some of Evan Dando's best lyrics. While I don't think The Lemonheads ever put out a bad record, there is no denying It's a Shame About Ray is their finest hour. It's one of the few records I will listen to, then immediately press repeat and get psyched to hear a song I just heard all over again.

As a sidenote, I saw them with Karl Alverez and Bill Stevenson of the Descendents as Evan Dando's backing band the day before my birthday this past year and it made me feel like a kid again. I kept my composure and didn't turn into "that guy," but inside I was bubbling over with excitement as they played literally every song I wanted to hear. It was one of the best shows I've been to in years. So, if you get the chance to see them, definitely do so. Evan Dando is a bit faded, but in between songs he just starts riffing on "Nervous Breakdown" so it's win-win.

The Lemonheads - It's a Shame About Ray


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Anonymous said...

excellent band, i wish i could have gone to that show.

sara said...

so kicking myself for not going with you this last time. gonna listen to this now.