For young bands who wear their influences on their sleeves as proudly as The Lemon Twigs do, there's a certain amount of time where they'll have to endure comparisons to their inspirations, until the time they're deemed worthy of their entirely own classification. For that reason a review of the Lemon Twigs' first UK show since their debut album will, indubitably, mention The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
Just like the latter, at the heart of this band is a fraternity, the brothers D'Addario, who pen their songs separately and bring them together to make the final record - just like the former tended to do.
On stage tonight there was no escaping these touchstones, lofty though they may be. The Lemon Twigs came on to their excellebt album opener, I Wanna Prove To You, full of assured musicianship and youthful harmonies. As a live band they're tight, impressive and full of energy, like the early sixties-era fab four were on stage. And their complex arrangements, melodic and harmonic structures and shifting templates exude a musical prowess which belies their years, as it did with The American Band.
But - tonight at London's Koko - here's the rub: everything changes midway through the show, as the talented brothers switch instruments. For the first half, Brian sings and does lead guitar, with brother Mike on drums and harmonies. But suddenly, the accomplished & mature anchor of Brian's leadership is ripped into pieces as Mike, resplendent in all in one leopard leotard, takes centre stage and promptly air kicks his way through the latter half of the set in a sub-Ramones, gymnastic explosion.
This change brings energy, yes, but the theatrical leaps and psuedo-punk approach don't flatter The Lemon Twigs as much as the more exacting set up seen earlier in the show. These boys (and girl) have talent by the truck load: their excellent debut album Do Hollywood could sit happily alongside some of the most acclaimed albums of the 60s - but it seems that talent is best expressed in a live setting with Brian at the helm. When they're less Spinal Tap and more Pet Sounds...They truly shine.
The Lemon Twigs are without doubt one of the few bands you should be keeping an eye on over the next few years. Difficult second album pending, the world is theirs for the domination if they play it right. And on stage their gift at such a young age - jarring shift in frontmen notwithstanding - is something very unique and special indeed. The band are back to play the UK in November. Go see them and witness something at once ridiculous, sublime, everlasting and disposable.