With videos that blend the awkward geek humor of Napoleon Dynamite with the eternal vintage eulogy of Wes Anderson, the precocious teenage fraternal duo of Brian and Michael D’Addario, a.k.a. The Lemon Twigs, are a promising grafting of psychedelic pop, glam, and 70’s soft rock, entering your ears and eyes with the fizzy refreshment of Coca-Cola nostalgia. Let me bring the world of The Lemon Twigs to you.
My imagination takes me to the basement of the D’Addario household, where two nascent youths ventured past the streams of sunlight coming through a basement window, exposing the dust of yesteryear snowing down upon a wooden album cabinet. As the hook lock glimmered and the yellowing curtains glowed with the light of discovery, the hinges squeaked, and a treasure trove was brought to life on a RCA turntable. All of the vignettes of the Kinks under-appreciated orchestrations wriggled and played in the two Long Island boys’ minds, even as Revolver blew them out, only to tape the confetti-scattered thoughts back together to replay backwards and looped. The strings of “Five Years” echoed into the sensuality of Soul Love, only to spark pubescence with the raunchy guitar of “Moonage Daydream” and the confusion of Ziggy and Lady Stardust. The innocence of “Happy Together” and soft summer nothings whispered into the ear canals of these young men, working their way through finger tips and into classics of today: “I Wanna Prove to You” and “As Long As We’re Together.” The Lemon Twigs harmonize in a way reminiscent of A Hard Day’s Night, with chord progressions on guitar and piano in a way that give a respectable nod to Paul and John.
Even The Ronettes and Herman’s Hermits would feel jealous at the relative ease these two multi-instrumental, soft-voiced virtuosos, often accompanied live by friends Megan Zeankowski on bass and Danny Ayala on keyboards, translate their creativity into songs that are as ageless as the sweet days of summer conjured in every strum and beat of the 2016 masterpiece, Do Hollywood. Each track stirs the bittersweet lemonade of time now gone, from rump-burning leather seats with only lap straps, to the hope of a first kiss of this June’s crush. That feel-good burn of metal knobs as you tune the FM into Badfinger. These words do more than fill a hole left by slowly forgotten Motown classics, Partridge Family singles, and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Mom’s copy of Air Supply is present, though quickly hidden in another sleeve.
Some tracks showcase the wide range of The Lemon Twigs, such as the beer hall tune “Those Days is Comin’ Soon” which oscillates between early Kinks and Pink Floyd before taking on a protopunk ‘Stones beat to wrap it all up. Other tracks, like “Haroomata” give us a glimpse of what The Velvet’s would have sounded like without drugs or shock therapy, and early the forays of Freddie Mercury. “A Great Snake” traverses the width of a circle, all while a certain Mr. Thunders’ post punk vocalization and a searing organ that would do Ray and Geoff proud, all coalesce to send fans to YouTube to track down the first, self-produced album, What We Know, which brims with the dirty-sweet sound of Bolan’s T. Rex and dizzying tower of The Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”, and miles above the contemporary talent. I won’t spoil all the surprise elements, so let your fingers do the typing and start listening. I will say this. Early garage bands in the 1960’s Seattle scene wished they sounded as good.
While not yet a combined 40 years of age, the lads of The Lemon Twigs show extraordinary talent and musicianship, not to mention production acumen. The term prodigy may not have been as aptly used since Mozart. As Brian and Michael mature and continue to expand their musical wings, they are sure to cast a shadow, perhaps creating a new genre altogether. One thing is for sure, The Lemon Twigs have moved out of the garage, and are aiming their water rockets toward the sun. The pumpkins have been smashed, and The Lemon Twigs have been planted in deep soil. Others may wish to move forward into more experimental musical explorations. My response is simple. Go on without me.