The Lemon Twigs’ ‘A Dream is All We Know’ is more of the same – but I still can’t get enough - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart

To talk about A Dream Is All We Know, the newest record from soft-rock-saviors The Lemon Twigs, you have to talk about their previous outing, Everything Harmony. The Lemon Twigs have been a band since 2016, but prior to 2023, they were a duo of former-child-actors who mixed their theatre-kid sensibilities with a love of old-school pop rock. In 2023, the zany sense of humor that flowed through albums like Go To School, a concept album about a chimpanzee raised as a human boy, suddenly disappeared. Everything Harmony was a step in a new direction; an album that didn’t sound like a love letter to the 70s, as their previous works had, but an album that literally sounded like it was from the 70s. The jokey lyrics were replaced by an innocent Brian-Wilsonesque persona that mostly ranged from melancholy and introspective (“In my head, in my head, I am someone else instead,”) to miserably and straightforwardly depressed (“Every day is the worst day of my life, the worst day of my life.”) It felt like a second debut for the Twigs; scores of new fans and now-won-over critics sang the praises of this delightful little record, the softest of soft rock albums, an album that would feel like a parody if it wasn’t so clearly a labor of love.

It might’ve been this sudden surge in popularity that inspired A Dream Is All We Know, which the Twigs released just short of a year after Everything Harmony. It’s their fastest turnaround between new albums, and it’s the closest two of their albums have ever sounded. Similar to it’s predecessor, it’s loaded with nods to the music of the 70s – the kaleidoscopic goofiness of Todd Rundgren is palpable here, especially on the title track – and while there’s a few noticeable differences between this and Everything Harmony, this is essentially the same Lemon Twigs we got last year. I have no proof of this, but I’ve got half a mind to allege that A Dream Is All We Know is a B-sides collection dressed up as an album.

The Lemon Twigs - A Dream Is All I Know (Official Video)

That being said – is it good? Yes. It’s great. The Twigs haven’t changed their sound up much, but that also means they haven’t gotten any worse at it either. And while this album isn’t a huge shift in style, there’s a much stronger influence from the mid-60s works of the Beach Boys and the Beatles; in fact, “Church Bells” is practically a Beatles style-parody, with punny nods to the Fab Four delivered in a vocal affect that borders on being a straight-up John Lennon impression (“Ring-goes the bell,” “My love waits for me on the Jerseyside,” good ones, guys). The impressions continue on “How Can I Love Her More,” whose theremin-guided verses and eerily-Wilsonesque vocals sound like the work of a film composer working for a studio that can’t afford to license “Good Vibrations.” A few songs on here cover ground that Everything Harmony didn’t get to in its wide sampling of retro subgenres; “In The Eyes Of The Girl” sounds like a doo-wop classic, and the closing track, “Rock On (Over And Over)” is a slice of down-and-dirty country rock; hearing the Twigs try to do their own boyish version of the Eagles is pretty funny, but their knack for catchy hooks and dynamic song structures keeps it from feeling like a joke.

Overall, do I recommend A Dream Is All We Know? Not if you haven’t heard Everything Harmony. It’s the better record, and hearing this without the context of Everything Harmony would be like starting a TV show in its second season. Still, if you can’t get enough of Everything Harmony, then A Dream Is All We Know won’t disappoint; generally speaking, it’s more of the same, but when the same is this good, who’s complaining?

The Lemon Twigs’ A Dream Is All We Know? is out now; listen below, via Bandcamp. The band kicks off tour Saturday, May 4th at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, and travels across North America and Europe; they return to the east coast in the fall, when they’ll headline Underground Arts on Friday, October 11th; full tour dates can be found at their website.

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