The Lemon Twigs not only draw their musical inspiration from classic power-pop; they’ve also learned to record using authentic ’70s gear and techniques.
The Lemon Twigs are brothers Michael and Brian D’Addario from Long Island, New York. Though respectively only 18 and 20 years old, they have already released two highly acclaimed albums inspired by a shared love of 1970s power pop. Following on from their 2016 debut Do Hollywood, this year’s Go To School is a highly ambitious, 16-song double album ‘musical’ featuring cameos from Todd Rundgren and onetime Big Star drummer Jody Stephens.
The plotline of Go To School is purposely daft. A couple, Bill and Carol, adopt a chimpanzee named Shane and raise him as a human until — spoiler alert! — he ends up burning down his high school by the close of the album. If, as a concept, it’s cartoonish, then the hugely accomplished songs and elaborate, strings-and-brass-supported productions blow away any whiff of novelty. All the more impressive is the fact that the brothers produced the album themselves, working entirely in the analogue domain, in their Fortune Studio, set up in the basement of their parents’ Long Island home.
“We kinda had the initial parts of the idea when we started touring the first album,” Brian explains. “We didn’t want to stop being creative, so we talked about the next album a lot. The songs indicated certain points of the plot. Michael was going to school a lot at the time, ‘cause he was trying to finish a year early. So he wrote songs like ‘Queen Of My School’ that had to do with a nerd going out with the most popular girl in the school. Things just popped up gradually.”
Partly through choosing to record to tape, the Lemon Twigs have managed to create an album that sounds authentically ‘70s, recalling in parts Queen, the Who, Wings, various shades of orchestral pop and, of course, the brothers’ faves, Rundgren and Big Star. “I just think that they kinda mastered it back then,” says Brian. “For me, really, it’s the drum sounds. The combination of how clean they are and the way that they’re powerful. Every modern drum sound has gotta hit you right over the head with how powerful it is. I like that you can have powerful recordings with low drums from the ‘70s.”
“It’s just the idea that if we’re...
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