It’s entirely APT – almost too good to believe, in fact – that Brian and Michael D’Addario hail from a small, nothing-doing town in Long Island, New York called Hicksville.
The teenage brothers and leaders of The Lemon Twigs are a gloriously off-kilter proposition. Watch them live and you’ll see Michael leaping around the stage as if he’s been possessed by the spirit of a young, madcap Keith Moon. See them on TV and you’ll instantly think you’ve been transported back to the 1970s. Queen, Tom Petty, spandex jumpsuits, vintage synthesizers, The Beatles after the break-up and genuinely great hair all play a sizable part in their DNA. Haircuts aside, how many other indie bands in 2016 would willingly admit to liking any of the above? This is where even The Lemon Twigs must be surprised at their recent trajectory. Within six months they’ve gone from complete unknowns to being hailed as the future of rock ’n’ roll. Which is funny when you think about it – because they sure do sound a lot like the past.
On much of ‘Do Hollywood’, their debut album for 4AD, there’s a lineage that recalls the A-list of North America’s recent cult music heroes (The Garden, Tobias Jesso Jr and Foxygen, whose songsmith Jonathan Rado produced this record). But The Lemon Twigs’ sheer musical knowledge, and willingness to incorporate it into their own sound, means they’re in a different stratosphere altogether. Their greatest talent is their ability to pick the pockets of rock’s dinosaurs without making it seem passé or pastiche. So we get clever, intricate, well- planned and deftly executed songs that recall Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd (‘Haroomata’), Wings (‘I Wanna Prove To You’), The Kinks (‘Those Days Is Comin’ Soon’) and classic, harmonious Beach Boys (‘These Words’). Only rarely does it ever sound trite. It’s thrilling for the most part, as if you’re being given a crash course in classic songwriting by two young know-it-alls.
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Most remarkable is that this album is basically just a demo. Recorded in Rado’s front room, you can hear the hiss of the tape and nonsensical chatter as songs come and go. It feels authentic, like The Lemon Twigs aren’t hiding anything. And it leaves you wide-eyed when you wonder what they might come up with next time around.