Assorted scribblings of a dog-eared music journalist

Melody Maker | Album | 5 November 1988

World Service

Originally recorded last year, "Hate Your Friends" is the first collection of Lemonheads songs to be flicked into shape on vinyl, although its release in Britain follows hard on the dry-skinned heels of their much applauded "Creator" LP. It’s along exactly the same lines.

A glance at the track listing, at titles such as "I Don't Wanna", "Uhhh" and "Fucked Up", and at the fresh-faced, padlocks and chains sporting urchins staring blankly from the back of the sleeve, suggests these guys have far more in common with the savage swells of another time in another country than anything their American contemporaries are currently serving up. A half attentive listen is enough to ascertain the irrefutable evidence. The Lemonheads are not in possession of a hardcore psyche or a thrash and mash mentality. Instead, they are discriminate, logical and – honestly, purposefully, gloriously – straightforward.

Love and hate and the liquid mess that's involved with both are their areas of interest. The vocals are raw, rankling rubs and are shared between Evan Dando and Ben Deily, one of them having the same rattle and grind as Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers. They steal lyrics from "Helter Skelter", cover "Amazing Grace" and tittle-tattle about each other to anyone who'll stand them a beer. Guitars repeat their few chord changes over and over again, once in a while skidding into a solo roll, and there's full use of every drum they've managed to borrow.

It's hectic, but they never lose their direction. With "Rat Velvet" and the title track, the search for excitement is over in an instant. With others, the goal is achieved a few seconds in or a few seconds from the end. There are no allowances made for middles.

If The Lemonheads are shallow, simple creatures, it doesn't matter a flea's fart. There are gems to be found in the topsoil too.

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