Turn That Noise Down - Lemonheads

So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1992 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Susan thinks It's A Shame About Ray...

This is another of those albums that I bought for just the one song… only to discover when I got home that I’d got one of the early issues of the CD which didn’t have that song on it, so I had to buy it twice!

Just as well that it’s an okay album then. I’ve seen Lemonheads described as “a happier version of Nirvana” and they kind of are. Fronted by "the beautiful" Evan Dando, and including "the beautiful" Juliana Hatfield on bass and backing vocals (both of whom featured on Most Beautiful People lists back in the day), It’s a Shame About Ray was actually their fifth album but is seen as the band’s breakthrough, because the chart success of a couple of the tracks found them gracing magazine covers, featuring in soundtracks and getting soon-to-be-mega-stars for their videos [watch "the beautiful" Johnny Depp in the video for the title track – Ed].

As for the music it’s, well, it’s very 90s. That’s neither a good nor a bad thing, it’s just the best description I could come up with. It opens with a boppy short called Rockin Stroll and continues with the equally boppy, but also jangly, Confetti with cool layered vocals and a marvellously muddy guitar solo. Then comes the title track and you are bound to have heard it before if you’re “of an age” [and will have the chorus stuck in your head now – Ed]. Rudderless has an excellent discordant start before settling into the boppy janglies again, however Juliana’s backing vocals really lift it out of the ordinary. My Drug Buddy is probably one of the closest things to a ballad on the album and, yes, the lyrics are about as dark as the title implies, then it’s back to the jangly happy sound for The Turnpike Down. Bit Part takes you a bit by surprise with the shouty intro and Alison’s Starting to Happen sounds pretty rock and roll. Hannah and Gabi goes from rock and roll to country, complete with slide guitar before we return to the boppy janglies as before with Kitchen [you see a pattern forming here? – Ed] The final two songs on the original album (the one I bought first) are the oddly named Ceiling Fan In My Spoon, which could be punk with a bit more effort, and the quirkily acoustic anachronism of Frank Mills which is a perfect way to end.

So, yeah, it’s an album that I bought twice for one song but, otherwise, it’s music that I’d put on in the background while doing something else. Inoffensive to listen to, with a decent bouncy take throughout to keep you going.

That one song though? I’m going to get yelled at by the purists here, but I honestly think that Lemonheads did the absolute best version, including the original, of Mrs Robinson.

Image - Amazon

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