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Lemonheads - Hotel Sessions

  by Richard Lewis

published: 28 / 1 / 2012

Lemonheads - Hotel Sessions
Label: Hall of Mirrors
Format: CD


Acoustic and lo-fi album of hotel room recordings of largely previously released material from the Lemonheads, which provides a stop-gap in the now seven years absence of new material from them

Presently touring the world with a reconfigured Lemonheads, ripping through touchstone album ‘It’s A Shame About Ray’ in its entirety every night, Evan Dando has seen his stock rise in recent times. As the years since the ‘heads’ last LP of original material, 2006’s excellent eponymous release wind on, the lack of new material is becoming, however, increasingly apparent. Following 2009’s covers album ‘Varshions’, ‘The Hotel Sessions’, as made clear in the linear notes was a long-held ambition of Dando’s. "I’ve always wanted to make an album for $53…to record live to cassette, master it and put it out… I have finally done it!" Goal duly reached, the none more lo-fi setting is awash with swishing tape hiss and the sound of cars passing by the open windows. The rudimentary approach fails to turn up any obscure gems unfortunately, as virtually all the tracks present are already available on 1993's 'Come On Feel the Lemonheads'. Despite the disc effectively serving as a demo tape, much of the material still passes muster in its inchoate stages. The self deprecating ‘Paid to Smile’, detailing the drudgery of radio promotion sounds as gorgeous as ever, as does ‘You Can Take It With You’ in all its ramshackle glory. With mental notes to the listener and (presumably the songwriter) between tracks, such as "This one doesn’t really suit an acoustic guitar" before ‘Style’ (he’s right), at times the album achieves the feeling of a low-key acoustic showcase. Former bassist Juliana Hatfield’s presence is missed the most here, her sunburst harmonies able to push Dando’s songs up a level melodically with the simplest of touches. Two rarities, ‘Superhero’ and ‘And So the Story Goes’, which never made it onto an album are fairly inessential. ‘Being Around’ meanwhile is markedly different to the released version, presented here in a slower, bluesier rendition. Overall a reasonably worthwhile purchase for completists and a useful enough stop-gap until Dando next enters the recording studio proper.

Track Listing:-
1 Big Gay Heart
2 Great Big No
3 Paid to Smile
4 It's About Time
5 Style
6 I'll Do It Anyway
7 Rest Assured
8 You Can Take It with You (Pt.2)
9 Down About It
10 Into Your Arms
11 Superhero
12 And so the Story Goes
13 Being Around
14 You Can Take It with You (Pt.1)

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