So the brand new Lemonheads album is another covers affair but this time they’ve gone bananas, no literally they have. It’s pressed on Banana yellow scratch and sniff vinyl. I’ve still got my Damned Strawberries scratch and sniff but it no longer smells of Strawberries though. Anyway, The Lemonheads and Mr Dando what have they got for us?
Thirteen tracks that entered the head of Dando and from his influences it was always going to be an eclectic wide-ranging affair with all aspects of their back catalogue ranging from the country honk of Parsons to the fury of Minor Threat and just about everything in between I guess the only thing to expect is the unexpected.
So clear your mind sit back relax and float downstream as they say. Yo La Tengo are up first and Lemonheads take on ‘Can’t Forget’ then I realise its been almost a decade since the last album of covers and flitting from GG Allin to Gram Parsons you won’t find a more diverse set of tunes yet Dando managed to own the lot of them and on this Varshons he’s managed exactly the same. Why do covers and not write yourself? Who knows only Evan Dando can answer that one but its once again an inspired collection
I love the quote that Lemonheads’ mainman Evan Dando has this strange ability – he could sing his order for a takeaway over the phone and make it into an achy three-minute epic fit for any bar. Indeed, many moons ago when Bush was dallying with the big red button over a Middle East catastrophe, he delivered an impromptu ‘Eve Of Destruction’ losing his sunglasses due to added angst. is a spot on assessment.
Jayhawks, Westerberg, Nick Cave and The Eagles all make it onto this album and they all fit right into that Evan Dando Lemonheads pocket once again. There’s maudlin beauty in the likes of ‘Settled Down Like Rain’ from The Jayhawks and he’s clearly heavily influenced by the likes of Lucinda Williams and Paul Westerberg.
Dando always liked telling stories and his lyrics like ‘Shame About Ray’ helped carve and style his career so heading out into a Nick Cave tune is something that sits really well and you can tell who wrote it but like previously mentioned Dando takes ownership as well not an easy task.
‘TAQN’ sounds like a hoot as they turn the amps up whilst ‘Unfamiliar’ – a tune Dando penned with former Smudge man Tom Morgan, a kind of skank like Keith Richards number that might have been written whilst under the influence of some substances with its Reggae undercurrent.
They (The Lemonheads) never shied away from covering other peoples songs seeing as in the early days ‘Luka’ helped get airplay in the UK for sure whilst ‘Mrs Robinson’ was a big deal and his version of ‘Hey Thats No Way To Say Goodbye’ was only surpassed by Michael Monroe when he did it. On ‘Varshons 2’ they take the covers idea and really go to town on the concept. Dando crooning on Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds ‘Straight To You’ is fitting even if it’s not the most obvious or indeed popular Cave song he could have borrowed but it works and I like it. Calling time on this album Dando takes a run at the Eagles ‘Take It Easy’ and I’m sat here with a mental picture of a contented Evan Dando taking his cans off saying its a wrap and grinning out the door having just delivered a full stop that was easy peazy playing a bunch of tunes you love and live and getting to take em home with you and shove em on your very own Lemonheads mixtape Evan Dando style – I like it always have liked his work and with records like this there’s no reason to stop just yet. great work and a lot of fun!
Buy Varshons 2 Here
Author: Dom Daley