THE LEMON TWIGS
Wunderkind indie siblings’ Rundgren-guesting, simian-themed ‘musical’.
There are concept albums and there are rock operas, and it’s not always clear which are which. But this startlingly camp, faintly crazy second album from Long Island brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario clearly fits the latter category, even though they prefer to call it a musical. The pair, aged 21 and 19 respectively, may be steeped in Big Star-style guitar glam and West Coast harmony rock, but they also have wild ambitions way beyond their station. So why not present us with an orchestra-enhanced, album-long tale of a married couple of bitter, failed actors/musicians who adopt a chimpanzee son? The brothers have the help of one of their heroes, Todd Rundgren, on the harmony-soaked chorus of Rock Dreams, and it succeeds largely through sheer chutzpah, as does the defiant show tune Born Wrong/Heart Song. Elsewhere, The Lesson starts off like a McCartney piano ballad outtake from The White Album, but it ends up a likeable, string-sloshed romp. Lord knows what theatre impresario in their right mind would dare try to sell tickets to this, but in a world of safe-playing career rockers, this kind of arrant insanity is more than welcome.