The Lemon Twigs - Brothers of Destruction

by Mark Moody Rating:4 Release Date:2017-09-22

When I saw there was a new The Lemon Twigs EP on the horizon I was eager to see what the Brothers D’Addario’s next step would be.  There were a handful of great tracks on their debut album, Do Hollywood (as in The Lemon Twigs…do Hollywood I guess), so I was hoping there was some leap forward for the group.  The band received a ton of hype from their first release and were something of a critics' darling.  I didn't quite get it, being too schizophrenic for me on balance, but tracks like ‘These Words’, ‘Baby, Baby’ and ‘I Want to Prove to You’ get better with repeated plays and I could see the potential for a breakthrough if their youthful exuberance was harnessed somehow.  

In anticipating The Lemon Twigs’ next chapter, what we get instead with Brothers of Destruction is a six-song, eighteen minute collection of scraps from 2015 that didn’t make the original album.  Not that new material is essential less than a year forward from their last release, but the fact this is even released at all makes one wonder if someone is just trying to make a few shekels in case there is not much left in the tank.  Though the fact they have been playing John Prine’s ‘Fish and Whistle’ on the road lately does give me hope. 

Since I’m compelled to do so, let’s delve into what you get in less than a third of an hour of material.  For such a short set, I do appreciate the witticism of a track entitled ‘Intro’, but in clocking just over a minute with a short guitar burst followed by some layered vocals and a calliope atmosphere it is utterly forgettable.  If all that was left over from their first release was what is contained here, and this track just had to be heard, I end up scratching my head.

Of the six tracks here, two of them would have been worthy of the first LP.  ‘Beautiful’ is as advertised by the title and sounds like a slowed down ‘Here, There and Everywhere’.  The gently finger picked guitar with earnest vocals certainly win me over.  A bit of emotion comes through as the vocals crack appropriately.  The second half of ‘Light and Love’ is strong as well after the song gets past a mess of massed harmonies and Hawaiian guitar.  The latter part of the song has some tastefully ragged vocals and the on point line, “I can taste you in the breezes”.  The first single, ‘Night Song’, does set itself apart from the pack by having some garagey organ reminiscent  of ’96 Tears’ (which historic chords were played by an even younger performer).  But ultimately the song comes undone by a “Hey, what does this button do?” burst of machine gun fire at the end that kills any substance the song may have had.

You would think these outtakes would have come twenty years into their career instead of on the heels of their first popular album.  The content only serves to highlight the shortcomings of the first release, no matter how slight, and that their lack of focus could be their undoing.  When my kids had friends like this at the house, I couldn’t wait for them to leave.  I hope five years out they will have blossomed into something I never could have imagined.  It happens.    

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