The Lemon Twigs reach high on their rock opera about a chimpanzee, Go to School | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

The Lemon Twigs reach high on their rock opera about a chimpanzee, Go to School  

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click to enlarge Lemon Twigs

Lemon Twigs

Courtesy High Road Touring

On Do Hollywood, the 2016 debut full-length from Long Island duo Lemon Twigs, the barely-of-drinking-age brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario show off their impressive chops and unending appreciation of Todd Rundgren. The album made a splash, exciting old rockers while introducing a whole new generation to the lush prog-glam underbelly of the 1970s. On the follow-up, August’s Go to School (4AD), the D’Addario brothers get even more ambitious—they've written and recorded a bizarre rock opera that tells the story of a chimpanzee who is raised by humans and tormented by his peers at the neighborhood school. As a whole, Go to School isn’t great: its 16 tracks try to cram in too many ideas, its flat production hinders the storytelling, and the way the D’Addario brothers use their voices to play different characters in the narrative comes across as goofy. But it’s not a total dud—in certain moments the Lemon Twigs shine brighter than ever before. Album opener “Never in My Arms, Always in My Heart” showcases their pitch-perfect, layered vocal harmonies, and seriously ripping musicality; and my personal favorite, “Queen of My School,” sounds like an honest-to-goodness outtake from Big Star’s Radio City. Sure, Go to School doesn’t reach the greatness of the Lemon Twigs’ first album, but the D’Addario brothers are still young. Everyone makes mistakes, and this is a minor one—I think these guys are going to turn out just fine.   v

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