The Lemonheads - Varshons
The Lemonheads have done covers in the past. We've actually gotten some exceptional ones from them such as "Luka" and "Mrs. Robinson". Well they have done something new, released an entire album of covers.
Varshons sees Evan Dando and his latest crew of players interpreting songs from a wide variety of artists. Some are obvious choices for the Lemonheads to do (Gram Parsons, Townes Van Zandt), others are less likely (GG Allin, Christina Aguilera).
The influence of the producer is pretty strong on the album. Behind the board is none other than lead Butthole Surfer and all around musical weirdo Gibby Haynes. Tracks like the psychedelic trippy "Yesterlove" and the wrapped computerized "Dirty Robot" have Haynes' fingerprints all over them. While these are interesting tangents to hear from Dando, they really don't stand up as much more than a novelty.
The best sounding tracks are the ones on which Dando is being Dando. The jangle pop of "I Just Can't Take It Anymore" and the sweet vocals of Dando and Liv Tyler on Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" are vintage Lemonheads. There's a surprisingly strong take on Wire's "Fragile" as well.
The pomp and circumstance of Aguilera's version of "Beautiful" is stripped away. The remaining song demonstrates a hidden warmth to the song. The slight imperfection of Dando's voice only serves to enhance that feeling.
Unfortunately, there are a few too many lacklustre moments to make Varshons a great record. However, there is enough here for Lemonheads fans to grab onto, and it really is special to see how an artist makes a song his own.
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