There’s something magical about that first time you really dive into your parents’ record collection.
You may have had an inkling of what they might like, but there’s something much more special about tangible objects. Whether you’re going to pull out a copy of Blondie’s Parallel Lines or a copy of Bruce Willis’ debut album The Return of Bruno, these are the records that clearly meant something in their own particular way.
It’s probably the first proper insight you have into who they actually are outside of simply being your parents, like that weird moment when you first discover they have actual names. Not only that, but it can be a pretty formative experience in shaping your musical tastes.
For Michael and Brian D’Addario, the Long Island brothers that make up The Lemon Twigs, this experience of delving into their dad’s musical tastes has well and truly buried into their very core. Their debut album, Do Hollywood, is a delightful smorgasbord of everything they loved growing up given a contemporary twist.
The songs may have been written two years ago, but they feel like they’ve been tumbling around in their heads for even longer; rolling up all their influences like a giant snowball. From the luscious doo-wop meets surf pop opener “I Wanna Prove To You”, it’s easy to spot where their influences are taking effect, and even more exciting to see how they twist them.
“I Wanna Prove To You”, in fact, is a perfect introduction to the insatiable appetite for pop that runs through the entirety of Do Hollywood. The fingerprints of The Beach Boys, in particular Brian Wilson, are all over this track, from the incredible harmonies down to the jangly guitar melodies. But they’re not afraid to mess around with the formula and, thanks to their bountiful multi-instrumental skill, produce sounds that seem familiar yet simultaneously other-worldly.
For instance, it takes some balls to throw a xylophone solo into the middle of a song, as you’ll find on the astonishingly fun lead single “These Words”. A skittish piece of pop genius, with an erratic need to jump from genre to genre every other second, it’s the perfect display of the brothers’ music proficiency. Honky-tonk pianos sit alongside fuzzed up riffs, before leading into a belting arms-aloft chorus and the aforementioned xylophone solo.
As Do Hollywood rockets along, you begin to piece together just how the D’Addario brothers’ minds work. Writing separately, then gathering all the ideas together (and never really wanting to remove any in the process) with the utmost care, it makes sense that most of their songs have a “A Day In The Life” esque fusion.
This leads to an album that seems to form a crude tapestry of musical history, taking in everything from The Beatles to Primal Scream, with a bit of Big Star in there for good measure. It’s an endlessly exciting, slightly surreal trip through some of the 20th century’s best sounds.
“Haroomata” sounds like the missing link between Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album; all carnivalesque pomp and ceremony alongside psychedelic melodies mixed with furious guitar riffs and even some contemplative piano lines. “Hi + Lo”, meanwhile, is Todd Rundgren if he’d taken a more baroque pop route with “Couldn’t I Just Tell You”.
The Lemon Twigs have something of a Dilla-esque appetite for consuming music. It’s obvious that they live and breathe music of every genre and just enjoy being around it. Do Hollywood feels like diving head-first into their record collection and, through that, we get a real peak at who these teenage brothers really are.
What they are, of course, is an incredibly talented duo that love putting together jigsaw puzzles with pieces from other puzzles to create their own little masterpiece. Do Hollywood, as a result, is a special little record with surprises around every corner that constantly thrill and excite. It’s fun, it’s weird, and like nothing you’ve ever really heard before.