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Lemonade (True Panther)

Wednesday, Oct 29 2008

Released three years after the trio began carving out a niche in San Francisco's music scene (and right when the group decamped to New York), Lemonade's debut is a manifesto on what's next in the mating ritual between dance music and rock. By infusing this genre hybrid with both global accents and psychedelic spirit, the guitar-free act offers up a body-rocking invite to free your mind and your ass all at once.

While Lemonade takes a more feral approach to dance-rock jams than smoother forerunners like the Rapture, it executes rather economically, cramming a ton of flavor into the album's six tunes. As Lemonade rolls from the warped, samba-basked disco-house of "Big Weekend" into the chugging and industrial "Unreal," the band builds anticipation for its longer, more ritualized pieces. By the time you're hit with the Arabic melodies and noisy breakdowns of the techno-driven "Nasifon" or the buzzing bass lines of the dubstep-tinged "Sun Chips," it's clear that Lemonade is about propelling you through the "world music" section behind your forehead.

Rhythm is key to Lemonade, and drummer Alex Pasternak handles the band's multinational digital and acoustic beat arrangements with panache, while bassist Ben Steidel matches him with steady, percussive bottom tones. Together, they buoy the shamanistic impulses of singer Callan Clendenin, whose John Lydon–cum–Perry Farrell vocals support a repertoire of, um, high-minded lyrics: "Monotomic gold electrifies your mind, once you scrape the fluoride from your encrusted third eye." As psychotropically as those lyrics read, Clendenin moans them with a muezzin's grace over Lemonade's intercontinental tracks, creating the kind of irresistible fusion that should take these boys far.

About The Author

Ron Nachmann


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