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The Lemon Twigs: A Dream Is All We Know

The newest release from The Lemon Twigs is, in fact, dreamy. Written about the fictional Mersey Beach, A Dream Is All We Know conjures mental images of vintage boardwalks with women in modest floral swimsuits and chubby tykes licking strawberry ice cream cones. It’s the crooning band you might’ve heard if you could travel back in time to your grandparents’ wedding; it’s watching dust motes float through the air at a sunlit antique mall.


Brothers Michael and Brian D’Addario have embraced the campy aesthetic of the 1970s in looks and in music. You can practically hear the duo’s satin shirts, flared jeans and shaggy hair come through on their recordings.


The first track, “My Golden Years,” establishes the nostalgic tone that threads the album together. The lead single was performed live on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where The Lemon Twigs are propelled by 12 strings and their signature high kicks. The song perfectly encapsulates missing a period of your life before it’s even fully passed: “’Cause in the blink of an eye / I’ll watch these golden years fly by.”


“Church Bells” is a simple, straightforward celebration of choosing a particular lover, both in person and place. The guitar chords and—yes—ringing bells lend a sonic texture that keep the lyrics’ lack of complexity from falling flat. The saccharine-sweet sentiments don’t choke the listener.


The Lemon Twigs are often described as a mix of The Beach Boys’ harmony and The Beatles’ artistic risk-taking. This sound is exemplified in “How Can I Love Her More” and “Peppermint Roses,” two knockout tracks on an already spectacular album.


In “I Should’ve Known Right From The Start,” the Twigs trill, “We should’ve stayed a world apart / Like lovers live in secrecy / Like heaven to a priest would be / A flaccid heart preceded me, you see.” Their high, sweet vocals could have easily crossed over into the territory of shrill or whiny. Luckily, they’re held back with a restraint that’s often missing from similar songs of the 1960s and ’70s.


If A Dream Is All We Know is the soundtrack to a wedding reception, then “Rock On (Over and Over)” is more of a grooving invitation to join the open dance floor than a waltz between a newly married couple. It’s this decade’s clear heir to Chuck Berry’s “Roll Over Beethoven.”


Rarely has a band borrowed so much from the past without compromising their own future. A Dream Is All We Know will undoubtedly prove to be one of the freshest, most innovative albums of the year.

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