Some of my favourite records are by The Lemonheads – I loved “It’s A Shame About Ray” and then went back in time to discover the wonderful (and very different from “Ray”) Pop/Punk of the early days. But I lost interest – perhaps put off by the cult of Evan Dando and his celebrity rather than the music. Now The Lemonheads (just a name for Dando now, from what I can gather) have a collection of covers for our entertainment.
The album is dominated by a Gram Parsons style (and starts with one of his song) but ranges into a vaguely psychedelic sound at times. The cover of Wire’s Fragile is very brave – it almost suceeds in humanising Wire’s characteristic detachment and adding a sort of acoustic grungey quality to the chorus. The GG Allin track Layin’ Up With Linda makes me want to rush out and find out more about the original artist. I love the sound of Dando’s voice in this lower register.
if you are going to cover one of the greatest songs ever written by a legend like Townes Van Zandt then you are facing a big challenge. Dando’s version Waiting Around To Die is really very good. He has a great voice (better than Townes) and delivers the song with conviction.
What covers album wouldn’t be complete with a real stinkers. Dirty Robot certainly fits the bill. Kate Moss over an electro backing. My first reaction was it’s so bad it’s almost good but that has now worn off completely and it is just awful. Thankfully he hands Liv Tyler a less embarassing song and she just about survives a very predictable version of leonard Cohen’s Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye.
In the end, I just feel that Evan Dando has one of the finest voices in Rock but perhaps has too much talent. He can make just about any style of music and it turns out well without him really putting his heart and soul into it. But I like this album more than I like him, if you see what I mean; it is varied and entertaining with some cracking songs.