Once or twice every generation, Long Island introduces the world to artists of such singular originality that they change the very nature of their art: Lou Reed; Jim Brown; Robert Mapplethorpe; Andy Kaufman. With their debut album for 4AD, Do Hollywood, The Lemon Twigs have earned themselves a spot on that list. Fusing tightly constructed pop, sophisticated orchestration, and British invasion melodies into a ten-song masterpiece, the D'Addario brothers – Brian (19) and Michael (17) – are whipping fans and critics alike into an utter frenzy.
Produced by Foxygen's Jonathan Rado, the album brings together everything from Brian Wilson and David Bowie to Queen and The Association. Their music can soar like a carnival calliope and then swiftly drop down to its knees in the hushed tones of a confessional booth. Their vocals move seamlessly from a cabaret croon to classic la-la-la harmonies. They mine inspiration seemingly from every era of rock, stitching it all together into a baroque-pop quilt of many colors. It's an ambitious approach, to say the least, but the album lives up to the hype.
Do Hollywood opens, appropriately enough, with "I Wanna Prove To You," which parades out of the gate like a circus arriving into to town. Bouncing piano and dense harmonies give way to shifting time signatures and mind-bending arrangements. It's the perfect introduction to The Lemon Twigs, and to Do Hollywood which features the brothers alternating writing credits on each track and liberally swapping instruments.
Lead single "These Words" builds from a delicate whisper to a rock and roll roar, while "How Lucky Am I?" tugs at the heartstrings, and "As Long As We're Together" calls to mind the memorable melodies of Big Star and T-Rex. Perhaps no song demonstrates their brotherly democracy better than "Hi+Lo," the track unfolding in movements like something off of Abbey Road's Side B medley with Michael singing and playing guitar, drums, and bass, and Brian adding horns and strings to flesh out the orchestral atmosphere.