The Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray 30th Anniversary Edition

Evan Dando recently told Mojo that he was going to use Kurt Cobain’s jumper as the divorce settlement from his wife Elizabeth Moses. Whether the anecdote was true or not it’s both testament to the continued ghoulish obsession for the Nirvana singer’s memorabilia and equally to Dando’s own often chaotic lifestyle in the wake of It’s A Shame About Ray’s unexpected success.

Once described – he felt fairly – as the seventh best band from Boston alongside the likes of the Pixies, Buffalo Tom, Dinosaur Jr. and Throwing Muses, The Lemonheads future looked far from certain after the ripple effect of the 120 Minutes scene saw them signed to a major, only for 1990’s Lovey to disappoint commercially.

On the advice of Mudhoney’s Dan Peters, the chastened singer decamped to Australia the following year -“England in the sun”- and connected with Smudge’s Tom Morgan, and future Lemonhead, Half A Cow’s Nic Dalton. The songs that flowed there were laced with melancholy, with Confetti written about the divorce of Dando’s parents, but in the face of grunge’s nihilism they were balming, soulfully bittersweet pop-punk (Green Day later mixed the two jetstreams on Dookie).

All of that would’ve still only added up to a relatively modest comeback were it not for a cover version of ‘Mrs. Robinson’ which he was assured was to be used on a Japanese only commemoration of The Graduate’s 25th anniversary: the suits though had other ideas. This 30th anniversary reissue contains a modest amount of the usual ephemera – and yes, that song – but more impressively the original core of It’s A Shame About Ray, like Curt Cobain’s knitwear, is certifiably ageless and the former continues to sound great against all the odds.

You can read the full review here.


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