The Lemonheads

Car Button Cloth

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Lemonheads leader EVAN DANDO is indeed a lemonhead. Or a bubblehead. And it still doesn't matter. The man is just too talented a tunesmith. Just as you shouldn't have been fooled by an overreaching, inane record company that marketed him for the teenyboppers as an "alterna-hunk" (who cares?), nor should anyone dismiss him just because his LPs always have a few outright duds on them ("Secular Rockulidge" here blows), making it seem that he writes too off-the-cuff or is too easily pleased. Nor should you write him off because his lyrics still stray into the sublimely idiotic (latest prose puzzler: "Khmer Rouge, Genocide qua" is not clever, it's stoooopid Evan! All the more so in the middle of the near-perfect pop single "If I Could Talk I'd Tell You."). And on the other side of the coin, I could rave about how Car Button Cloth is a mature work, more scattershot but ultimately more satisfying than the well-venerated It's a Shame About Ray and better thought out than the up-and-down, spastic C'mon Feel The Lemonheads. But, frankly, I don't give a (fill in naughty expletive of choice) about any of this. The important things are the HOOKS, which are plentiful and often instantly timeless, and Dando's voice, which becomes more convincing, sensitive, throaty, introspective, humble, and edgy each time out. And the overall attitude, which is loose but dripping with sincerity, earnestness, and real feeling. Sure, Dando's got the goods, and songs such as "It's All True" and "Break Me" are the sort that a million bands would work years at 7-11 to call their own. It almost seems unfair; he's written so many great ones this decade. But just as importantly, Dando has perfected the art of just being himself, without pretension, and it's a hell of a lot more honest and real and enjoyable than a truck load of overhyped, super-hip, underground product this year that, though far more high-brow, is ultimately tight-assed, calculating, suffocating, and worthless in comparison. I'd rather go where the real fun is, and it's here. The first three songs alone are like love at first hearing.

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