The Lemon Twigs – Go To School

You don’t get many bands like The Lemon Twigs in a lifetime. They’re genuinely eccentric, seemingly wholesome and talented beyond belief. Go To School is the band pushing the limits of their compositional muscles and the product is unbelievable; it is an album of passion made by two brothers who were “literally raised on Broadway”. Pushing away from Do Hollywood, their brilliant debut from 2016, they didn’t want to give fans a straight up pop album and have pushed as far away from that as they could.

The concept of Go To School may seem silly at first. The album follows Shane the monkey and his struggles going to school. The band stress that Shane the monkey isn’t directly their own experience growing up. Go To School ends up as an incredibly relatable album about what it is to be an outsider and not only that but to embrace that rather than reject it. The band put it as, “A fairy tale with a dark edge”. Shane experiences rejection and bullying throughout his journey. There isn’t an element of ‘woe is me’ for Shane, he is on top of himself and that’s what makes him brilliant.

Once you’re wrapped up in Go To School, you don’t miss the big stadium fairground sounds of Do Hollywood. With both brothers being child actors, the band’s music has always had elements of theatrics to it. In Go To School‘s case they not only adore the influences they draw from, they know them inside and out.

Go To School doesn’t sound like an indie musical or some eccentric outsider album that has simply been labelled as a musical either. It sounds genuine. To me, this is key to why it’s so brilliant. There are classic rock songs but it isn’t a rock’n’roll musical either. A good element of the album is rock influenced and it’s something the band do incredibly well. They know when, and when not, to indulge and for a band in such early stages, they are going to become one of the modern legends.

There are great moments on Go To School and there are also truly exceptional moments. ‘Born Wrong/Heart Song’ is one of those. The band have described the song as “going full musical” and it hits the nail on the head perfectly. It sounds like a professional production but to Broadway or West End standards. It shows that the band are composers just as much as they are songwriters. I can’t praise them enough.

There’s so much to love and enjoy about Go To School. It’s an album that’s enjoyable and accessible for anyone. Their musical prowess doesn’t overshadow the songs being fantastic in their own right. I’ve never been a particular fan of musicals, but Go To School makes me feel as though I may have been missing out. There are some fantastic contributing vocals from Todd Rundgren who plays Bill. The duet on ‘Never Know’ is particularly special.

Go To School is an album which repeatedly blows me away. It’s a massive achievement for a duo whose talent is so great it seems almost alien. Go To School is exceptional, pure and clever. How this is only their second album from a pair still so young is beyond me. It’s a euphoric listen both casually and attentively. It’s rewarding to read along with, it’s rewarding to simply enjoy sonically. An album that goes beyond personal tastes, it is one I’d find it near-impossible to fault. I believe Go To School to be a genuine modern-day classic.

Chris Middleton