The word ‘rockstar’ conjures a specific image, one of palatial talent, tight pants, and an unspeakable panache. Regrettably, though, the modern vision of rockstardom has been ripped to shreds and left in a drunken sway, standing on little besides ego and eyeliner. New York duo The Lemon Twigs have managed to nestle themselves into a sweet spot, where their old-school veneration doesn’t feel stuck in a time warp or fall flat on hollow spectacle.
‘Everything Harmony’ is the fourth record from brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, the core of The Lemon Twigs. It’s balmy and tender, the most pared-down and intimate record from the duo, whose past releases have all been candy-coated in a heavy dose of camp and glamour.
The brothers wear their influences proudly on their patchworked sleeves. The harmonic vocal runs on ‘Any Time Of Day’ evoke that of the Bee Gees’ mid-70s works, title track ‘Everything Harmony’ features orchestral grandeur and psychedelic harpsichord, qualities that slot in nicely with the band’s 60s baroque-pop oddity, and the whole record is hazy with the silvery charm of Big Star. ‘I Don’t Belong To Me’ sounds like a lost Elliot Smith track, piano and vocal-forward with looming malaise and a sense of existential angst, and ‘Corner Of My Eye’ channels the mellow dreaminess of the Beach Boys’ chamber pop.
The record is reverent in its nostalgia. The D’Addario brothers clearly worship their references, extracting clever bits of brilliance, pulled off because they have the gumption to do them justice. Emulating Led Zeppelin or the Rolling Stones is overdone and ineffectual – instead, the D’Addario brothers knock the dust off sentimental soft-rock and retro pop music, capturing their endearing tenderness and profound arrangements.
They never take themselves too seriously, though. ‘Everything Harmony’ has a jangly, theatrical undercurrent and an air of novelty that makes it feel like the soundtrack to a scenester party where the theme is “70s prom”. At the root, though, it’s a heady scrapbook of solid, timeless tunes; collected ideas that come together to form a deeply personal, artfully crafted look into the D’Addario brothers’ minds.
Though ‘Everything Harmony’ may be a pastiche, the band carried it past the point of mere replica and into its own identity. It’s resonant in modern times; a dreamlike escape from the electronic clamour and constant buzz that can drain one’s spirit. ‘Everything Harmony’ speaks to the past, present, and future, and it’s all looking golden.
Words: Bella Savignano