By Kyle Peveto, Arts Editor
Artist: Evan Dando
Title: Baby I’m Bored
The Lemonheads were the quintessential ’90s pop-punk band. If I Could Talk I’d Tell You, the punky cover of Mrs. Robinson and the sensitive Into Your Arms were all radio hits and the band was the darling of the college radio circuit early last decade.
Evan Dando, the band’s visionary, has reappeared with a new album titled Baby I’m Bored. After disappearing in 1995 when his band’s contract was terminated by Atlantic Records, Dando released a live acoustic album, kicked his crack habit and got married.
Releasing a solo album is not a stretch for Dando because every Lemonheads album after the band moved to Atlantic from independent TAANG! Records was essentially a solo album. Original members of the band were not present after the Lemonheads’ Lovey, the first on Atlantic. Every album after that was a modge poge of studio musicians and Dando’s friend, rocker Julianna Hatfield.
Dando, a mid-’90s pop- culture icon had dated Kate Moss, taken a stab at acting and made numerous “most beautiful people” lists. After embarrassing himself in interviews, Dando retreated to Australia and Europe, where he is much more of an star than in the United States.
Baby I’m Bored is his first studio album since 1995’s Car Button Cloth with The Lemonheads. Bored could be tossed in with the other four Atlantic Records Lemonheads albums because of its pop-punk and sometimes rootsy sound.
As a fan, I am a sucker for a roots-folk-pop sound and I have been a Lemonheads fan since the seventh grade. Awaiting this album for over five years, I was ecstatic to see the release date of April 22 announced a few months ago.
The disc contains a few tracks fans will already be familiar with, such as The Same Thing You Thought Hard About is the Same Part I Can’t Live Without, which was recorded for his live album last year. The song, aside from being one of the longest titles in history, is one of the strongest on the album. It is treated differently on this album than on the live disc and comes out as a much darker track because of the guitar distortion.
The album begins with standard Lemonheads-sounding tracks such as Repeat and My Idea, which are light and fun. The Lemonheads were never about extremely deep folk-song lyrics, but about crafting great poppy songs that are easily sung along to.
My favorite track is All My Life, which was not written by Dando, but by Ben Lee, a close friend of Dando’s and a great Australian songwriter. The lyrics state: “All my life I wanted all the things/ I didn’t need at all.” It seems the song was chosen for the record because of Dando’s new life of sobriety and marriage.
Baby I’m Bored sounds most like the last Lemonheads ‘s laststudio album, Car Button Cloth, which was filled with the upbeat pop songs that are expected from the band juxtaposed against darker, more experimental instrumentation.
The experimentation on Baby I’mBored may be credited to producer Jon Brion, who produced Old 97s frontman Rhett Miller’s solo effort last year. Brion has scored films like Magnolia in the past.
Waking Up, Shots is Fired and Stop My Head are all filled with samples, off-key vocals or other noise that changes the sonic landscaped of otherwise folksy songs.
Every song on the album could stand up as a folksy acoustic song and is only accentuated by the instrumentation.
Initially, I was disappointed as a fan because I hoped for a quieter album like Live at the Brattle Theatre. After listening once, though, I enjoyed it as the same upbeat pop-roots-rock I have always wanted from Dando.
Dando may have resurfaced at just the right time in the musical world. Solo projects are popping up everywhere after the success of Pete Yorn, John Mayer, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba and countless other lone songwriters.