Tackling the Lemonheads 1993 album, Come on Feel the Lemonheads, I came away thinking it was an OK record that could have been a great one with just a few tracks excised. It was more than enough to make me realise there was a lot of potential for this band to tick a lot of boxes I like in music. So I pretty much immediately had to hear more, which I did, with Feel’s immediate predecessor, It’s a Shame About Ray
Combining punk rock simplicity with singer Evan Dando’s signature slacker ‘tude, Rockin’ Stroll is a little piece of pure rock, pop energy that knows that brevity is often the key to a song’s success. The slacker rock continues with Confetti, this time including a shredding guitar solo and all!
Maybe it’s just because I’m a little more aware of this song than most on this record, but the title track delivers a lot more of exactly what I expected from a Lemonheads album. It’s gentle, but poppy, heartfelt but a little detached, dreamy but driving. It’s Shame About Ray really is the quintessential Lemonheads song for someone with only limited exposure to this band and their brief moment of chart dominance in the 90s.
After a string of similar pop infused singer songwriter stuff with My Drug Buddy, The Turnpike Down and Bit Part, the last thing I was expecting was the almost country rock of Allison’s Starting to Happen. It’s weird, it’s unexpected, it’s also one of the real highpoints for me on It’s a Shame About Ray. The country vibe continues with the pedal steel filled Hannah and Gabi.
Closing strong, rocker Ceiling Fan in My Spoon sounds like any energy conserved with the quieter moments of It’s a Shame About Ray are let loose in one minute and 48 seconds of pure non-fucking around, and a great bookend to Rockin’ Stroll. In the end, I totally get way this is an important part in the band’s history. It solidifies everything I always thought I knew about the band, while giving more than a few new reasons to hear more of what they had to offer back in the day.