Too Cool For School: Meet The Lemon Twigs

Photo: Brian W. Ferry

Brian and Michael D’Addario, 19 and 17 years old, respectively, a.k.a. The Lemon Twigs, are young prodigies who live in Long Island, New York with their parents. Nothing rock’n’roll about that. But as soon as they take the stage, it doesn’t take too long to realise that these kids are disciples of every relevant musician from the 60’s and 70's.

Brian and Michael often switch places during the shows, each one lead singing their respective written tracks. When Michael is the drummer he turns into the son of Keith Moon, and when he takes over the vocals and guitar he evokes Pete Townshend (both of The Who) jumping around and throwing kicks in the air, perhaps the victim of the “younger brother syndrome”, but nonetheless entertaining to watch. Brian is the calmer and more mature half, with his melodic voice and focused performance.

The record “Do Hollywood” (2016) is a wide range of references of everything the boys listened to as kids, influenced by their father, the also musician Ronnie D’Addario. From the harmonies of the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the fusion of all-american rock and well-crafted pop of Big Star, to the melodicism of Queen and the feel-good rock of the Wings, minimalism doesn’t play a part here.

The album opens with the single “I Wanna Prove To You” (its video, by the way, could easily be directed by Wes Anderson), a poppy track written by Brian, which lyrics only a young love could inspire, is just a sample of the boys’ knack for creating many different atmospheres within a song, while completing each other perfectly in the end, resembling, in a much smaller scale, to Pete Townshend’s (once again) insane mini-operas.

“These Words”, another single, is the highlight of the record. It builds up slowly, with funky keyboards, synths and bass, to Brian’s soft voice, until it explodes into a triumphant racket, worthy of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and there’s still space for a xylophone solo (yes!).

To yours truly, who is not that much older than the members of the band, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing a band grow like that, right before our eyes.

Their young age and the sea of musical references that everyone knows of might make skeptics turn their nose up at the Lemon Twigs, but know that they already have the approval of people from the likes of Sir Elton John and Boy George. So wait and see, and give the kids a chance, because if it’s up to their fans, they won’t be forgotten so soon. And don’t tell me Mick Jagger didn’t try to copy James Brown at the beginning of his career.