The Lemonheads- “Varshons 2” Album Review

posted February 11, 2019 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Scott Perdue

The alternative rock group, The Lemonheads, are back with their first album release in 10 years, “Varshons 2.” Following the same format of this album’s predecessor, The Lemonheads once again sought out to create an album entirely comprised of covers.

Formed in 1986, The Lemonheads steadily gained recognition and finally broke into mainstream success in 1992 with their cover of the Simon and Garfunkel classic, “Mrs. Robinson.” Going on hiatus in 1997, the band reemerged in 2005 with a new vision for the group’s direction.

Initially known for a far more punk infused style, the band has now moved towards a more indie alternative aesthetic. Struggling with pinning down their style, however, The Lemonheads have recently had trouble with finding their sound. 

An unfortunate weakness of the album is the band’s inability to place their own interesting spin on the tracks they cover. Often the sound of their take on the songs are far too similar to the originals and when the band does try and add their own spin, they fail to create a cover with any sort of revisiting potential.

Opening with their take on Yo La Tengo’s “Can’t Forget,” The Lemonheads provide a fairly well-executed cover of the track, but don’t add very much outside of a decent recreation. Other tracks such as the often covered “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” and the Eagles’ classic “Take It Easy” are fairly decent covers as well, but similarly to the album’s opening cover, don’t rise above their original artist’s version or the countless other alternative covers of the tracks.

Struggling with apparent issues of memorability, “Varshons 2” has a slew of issues with composition and consistency. The album moves abruptly between tropical beats, country honky tonk and electric punk.

The range of covers selected for the album don’t mesh as well as they should and very much clash with one another in strange ways. For instance, the transition from the group’s cover of the steady and slow, “Round Here” is sharply disrupted by the rushed and high energy, “TAQN.”

“TAQN” in particular, as well as several other tracks on the album, integrate a forced use of blistering electric guitar, which more often than not diminishes the joy of the song rather than contribute anything beneficial to the track. While all of the music is listenable, the experience that the record provides is very much an erratic one.

Unfortunately, not the triumphant return The Lemonheads would have hoped for, “Varshons 2” is just far too unfocused and inconsistent to receive more positive praise. The movement of the album goes from soothing lows to irritating peaks, often one after the other.

Many of the tracks are swallowed up by the song before them, leaving the album feeling as if it is comprised of throw away filler tracks. While covering songs is always a process that is difficult to navigate, The Lemonheads do manage to pull out a few tracks that are well done.

The unfortunate reality, however, is there are far more failures than there are successes. Hopefully on a future release, the band will be able to represent more of their own sound, instead of feeling the need to hide behind lacking covers of other artist’s songs.

Rating: 5/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Track: “Can’t Forget”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Track: “TAQN”

 

 

Scott Perdue is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education. To contact him, email rsp5246@psu.edu.