sharp and sour rock

It's a Shame About Ray (Atlantic Records)
The Lemonheads

By Kory Wilcoxson

Evan Dando and his band The Lemonheads have been a cult favorite in Boston since they formed in 1986. But few outside of Beantown have been turned on to their hard-working alternative style. Dando and company are hoping to change that with their latest release, It's a Shame About Ray.

The group, which once claimed Louisville's own Ben Daughtrey and Byron Hoagland as psuedo-members, have previewed their latest work with a CD single that includes three songs from the album. Judging by what the single has to offer, the album will be another feather in Dando's cap.

The title song is a somber number, bringing to mind the "Don't Tell a Soul"-era Replacements. It's driven by Dando's soft grunge guitar with the hint of a mandolin in the background. The lyrics are a little bland, but the sound is sharp enough to counter them.

The second song, "Rudderless," is superior to the first. The somber tone is set again, but the lyrics are more creative and the music has a little more punch to it. Dando's songwriting abilities also shine through here: "Waiting for something to break/Left my heart out to bake/Slipped my mind that I could use my brain/Stay up all night/Crash on the plane."

The last tune, "Ceiling Fan in My Spoon," is quick and quirky, with Dando moaning in a Joey Ramone tone of voice. It's not up to par with the other two, but it's short enough to enjoy without getting bored.

Overall, this single bodes well for the upcoming album. If the country gets a glimpse of It's a Shame About Ray, The Lemonheads may enjoy the success they've tasted in Boston on a larger scale.