Lemons Are Louder Than Rocks.
Lemons Are Louder Than Rocks might seem like a silly band name, but there's a good story behind it. The night before the Vet was imploded in 2004, Dan Casey and friends were drunkenly trying to wake someone by throwing rocks at his window. A girl suggested lemons, which happened to be on hand. Her logic? Lemons are louder than rocks.
The band grew out of Casey's home-recording project while he was working at Tunes, a record store in Marlton, N.J. There he met Dan Shields, who became Lemons' drummer and engineer in 2005. Within the next year they'd picked up keyboardist Matt Lulias, bassist Brandon Smith and guitarist Rich Boblenz, making proper shows possible.
Last year's promising All My Old Friends EP featured only the two Dans, so it's a treat to finally hear the full band on the new album 'Gallop' & Other Distorted Love Songs. Recorded by Matt Ricchini of Soft People, it's a batty romp heavily informed by '60s psych-pop, '70s folk and '90s indie rock. The title track is indeed a distorted love song (of sorts), Casey's hammy vocals livening up the already offbeat tune.
The album makes for a jaunty trip, recalling the quirky likes of Starlight Mints and early Dr. Dog along the way. "There Is No Death for Me!" is a fuzzy fable about "the night good and evil made amends," whereas "Roastbeef Sammich" is so nutty and childlike it sounds something from the Muppets. "She Blew a Kiss" exists in the suave vein of Jens Lekman, "Who Are You Dreaming Of?" recalls the Byrds' freakier country stuff, and "Lewd Nudle" proves another chiming feat of reverby jangle and drowsy harmonies.
Since February Casey has been living outside San Francisco, swapping demos with his bandmates while pursuing a more singer/songwriter-type project called Daniel Sex Jr. He'll be back in town for the Gallop release show, but from there he's not sure whether he'll return to Philly or see if the rest of Lemons want to head west. Either way, we're left with a vivid and exciting album by a very memorable band.
PW's Music Issue 2014