Written by Roxana Rees
New York brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario have returned with their fourth album, Everything Harmony – a beautiful showcase of their baroque pop band The Lemon Twigs. This album is nothing if not superbly unpredictable – switching between genres and moods to reflect their eclectic influences, whilst simultaneously retaining their own distinct sound.
The Lemon Twigs have released three albums since forming their band in 2014: their debut album Do Hollywood (2016) was very well received and they were praised by critics for their retro, theatrical sound, despite the brothers only being aged 19 and 17 at the time of its release. Their second album Go to School was released in 2018, subsequentially followed by Songs for the General Public in 2020. Being released on this 5th May, their fourth album feels like a real step up in terms of their willingness to share and explore a more vulnerable side to their song writing.
Everything Harmony opens with the melancholic ‘When Winter Comes Around’ – an acoustic folk song that pays homage to their folk influences, including their own father, folk singer Ronnie D’Addario, who played with some of the giants of folk back in the seventies such as Tommy Makem of The Clancy Brothers. But, enticingly, this gentle folk expectation for the album is completely abandoned by their second track, ‘In My Head’, where we are introduced to an explosion of self-confident power pop. By the fifth track, ‘What You Were Doing’, all traces of their folk influences have been ditched entirely, and instead replaced by a thrilling example of indie rock more like the early work of The Stone Roses. At first listen, this can of course feel jarring in terms of the flow of the album, but the rewards are obvious too – The Lemon Twigs are no one trick ponies.
This is particularly the case for their eighth track, ‘What Happens To A Heart’ – a love ballad that theatrically depicts the pain of heartbreak through the dramatic instrumental made up of pianos, organs, a harpsichord, a celesta, as well as their characteristic use of layered acoustic and electric guitars – all the impressive considering these instruments are all played by the brothers themselves. Commenting on the production of this track, Brian D’Addario noted that “we were going for a 70’s Spector vibe, along the lines of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Death Of A Ladies Man'”, making this depiction of isolation and heartbreak have a timeless quality.
Perhaps the standout track on the album for me is the heartbreaking Simon and Garfunkel-esque ‘Still It’s Not Enough’. From the gentle acoustic guitar riffs to the soothing strings in the background to their tight harmonisation and intimate lyrics, there’s a definite sense that this is a track that people will be able to relate and connect to.
As Brian D’Addario comments in the sleeve notes, both the brothers felt a “palpable mood of defeat” in the creation of this album, something clearly reflected in their profound lyrics such as, “In my mind there is sadness all the time” and “water fills my lungs and I can’t even breathe”. Track seven, ‘Every Day Is The Worst Day Of My Life’ perfectly embodies this overwhelming sense of isolation. It’s constant repetition of this depressing lyric, counterbalanced by the gentle acoustic guitar strumming in the background makes it reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’. And despite the ostensibly depressing nature of this song, you’ll find yourself humming these devilishly catchy lyrics throughout your day.
With the clear presence of The Lemon Twigs’ musical theatre background intact, Everything Harmony has a cinematic quality that makes it a joy to listen to.