Friday, November 14, 2008

FDF Volume 2 Issue 116: The Mightly Lemon Drops - Laughter

By: March

Album - Laughter
Artist - The Mighty Lemon Drops
Key Players - Keith Rowley - drums. Marcus Williams - bass. David Newton - guitar. Paul Marsh - lead vocals/guitar
Produced By - Mark Wallis

Release Date - September 20, 1989

What caused me to blow off the dust? - This was the first band I ever got in to after knowing nothing about them, and seeing them live as a support act. I loved their look and sound and followed them for their "duration" from 1988 thru 1992. I used to spend a lot of time with their records and this one always seemed the strongest to me.

Overview - Woverhampton, England band, The Mighty Lemon Drops began as a band a few years prior to a 1985 single release. The UK press (NME) and radio host John Peel were early fans of the band that played a mixture of alternative and pop rock. The band would release a total of six studio records with "World without End" having the bands most well known single "Inside Out". The band would have only mild success in the states and would be dropped from their label and disbanding in 1992.

FDF Comments (aka the songs)
- A long ebow swirl slowly builds "At Midnight". The song slowly builds with the ebow and then the bass and guitars come up before the guitar comes over it all. Its a mid tempo track with Newton and Marsh harmonizing at times with the ebow swirling back up at times. The bass rumbles under it all and the drums are hit with authority. After the band all comes together repeating a series of notes the drums bring it back towards the end where it crashes to a halt. Its a strong opener, and was always a great live show opener as well. A single guitar brings up "Into the Heart of Love", that is almost compressed and in "mono" before the whole band joins in. During the verse the band sort of sits back while Marsh sings but come the chorus the Rickenbacker guitar wall comes over. After the second chorus the vocal track gets heavily compressed for the "shoot shoot shoot you down" before the fun, uptempo music returns. "Where do we Go From Heaven" follows and it utilizes some of the same drawn out fade ups, but we are greeted with acoustic guitar instead of electric as the primary lead. The first verse is done almost totally acoustic and then the band comes in, but the acoustic is high in the mix. There is call and response chorus', but they are not yelling at one another. Marsh repeats the chorus, and the band does a full run of the chorus an octave higher than before. They repeat the title a few times as the song fades and there is a series of delays on the vocals as well the song fades out, and right back up with a single that bring in "The Heartbreak Thing". The drums are marching band like, the guitars chug on simple chords until the pre-chorus when the we let out the "chime" of the guitars once more and by the chorus the drums bang out the 4/4 beat on the snare drum. Its a quick song that retains all alt rock pop hooks you can stand. Some delayed drums work up "One In A Million" before a single guitar joins in. Marsh sings a full verse with just the guitar and drums holding down the same pattern, before the guitar line changes, and then we bring it back to the ebow guitar with drums. At the chorus (it doesn't seem like a chorus yet) the bass comes in with a few single notes, then we hit it down. The band is full and the mix is perfect, you can hear all the instruments perfectly and the chorus has a wonderful vocal hook. Marsh goes high on the final few passes of the chorus but never waivers vocally and it slowly comes down but then Rowley brings it all back together for a wonderful closing few moments. "Written in Fiction" starts with guitars right off and blends in some horns. It is a decent sounding track, but at the outset sounds a little out of place. The lyrics are given choppy, but there are some great guitar effects thrown over Marsh at times adding a unique touch. "The Real World" is a little more back to the feel of the earlier tracks. Williams gets a chance to show off some of his bass work before the band comes together at the verse. There are horns once more, but they feel a little more in place on this track. A slightly compressed single guitar starts up "All That I Can Do" and Marsh comes in with the vocals soon after the track begins. The band is always strong with their choruses and this is no exception. "Second Time Around" is another strong track that follows a lot of the same formulas of the record, a solid bass line, drums that are not "overdone" and catchy choruses. An acoustic and electric guitar start off "Beautiful Shame". To this day, one of my favorite songs by any band. It is one of those songs that just "does it for me" every time. The bass underneath the guitars and the way the chorus is sung, it just is a perfect match. See for yourself, in the download section. You may not dig, but my glowing smile when it plays speaks bounds. The album closes with "Rumbletrain?" a track that has heavy bass and, as you'd imagine, a train like chugging drum line. A decent enough closer, not too flashy but not dull either.

Where are they now?
- The band was dropped by their label and disbanded in 1992. Dave has gone on to work in recording and has an interview on myspace (account needed)you can read. He also played guitar in a band called Fonda who released two records. Paul, Marcus and Keith I did not have much luck finding out what they are up to on line. If anyone knows, shoot a note to the comments and I will add (and give you credit o'course).

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I was introduced to the band when they opened for Love and Rockets at the Orpheum Theater in Boston on April 16, 1988. I remember being WAAAAAY in the back and just falling in love with the band right away. The black outfits, the Rickenbacker guitars..ahhh it was love at first listen. October 4, 1988 I saw them at the Paradise in Boston. The best part of that show, fans were up on stage dancing along to "Inside Out" with your blog host leading the charge. Somewhere around the time of this record (well touring under the "Laughtour" name) I saw the Lemon Drops with John Wesley Harding and the Ocean Blue at the Living Room in Providence Rhode Island (some dates point to 1990). I have a promo record that has the dates on it..I'll have to check. I checked the date was January 26, 1990. October 13, 1992 was the last time, when they played the Rat in Boston. Very few people were at this show, and my buddies and I actually went from the Ned's Atomic Dustbin show at Axis, over to this (well we stopped for a slice of pizza before hand). We ran in to Dave at the Neds show and said "We are coming to see you next!" He gave the thumbs up and walked away (probably a good thing)

FDF Overall Take - This is a decent band for the late 80's "alternative" rock scene. They are similar to bands like the Church and Echo and the Bunnymen, with a focus on guitars. Honestly, this particular record may as well have burn marks in it from the laser on the cd player. It was played all the time and brings back a lot of fun/great memories. For the casual fan, or someone new to the band, since a lot of the stuff is out of print, go with the "best of" collection. Don't be shy, if you like what you hear in the mp3's or myspace, you love it all..honestly.


The band on myspace, a decent, although in need of an update fan site. This is the myspace for Dave and a link to the studio he works in/for.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Mp3's have been removed...
At Midnight
One in a Million
Beautiful Shame

All the tracks were taken from Laughter which you can buy here


This is gone too...
Perhaps the most well know track from the band was "Inside Out". This is a live version taken from a live cd of theirs called "All the Way. It was recorded live in Cincinnati Ohio on April 6, 1990.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 9:03 AM, Anonymous BBS said...

I too loved this record and it to this day gets regular play on my iPod, actually one of the young guys I work with asked "Who is that" when he overheard At Midnight" Although I must confess that "Where do we go from Heaven" is one of my all time favorite songs.
How did I miss that Axis (NADB) Rat double header?

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My "laughter" cd, and tape were overworked. I think I have the vinyl record too! (thanks to college radio). Still gets regular play on the ipod. The best show we saw (I was with Todd) at the living room, in Providence. Having the lemondrops open for The Ocean Blue who were just finding success with "Between Something and Nothing" was one to be remembered. The mix was dead on for everyone that night.

The Rat show after Ned's @ Axis was like a private showcase. They played great, but there was no one there! Shame.

Thanks for the great review T. You and I spent a lot of time with this album.

At 4:48 PM, Anonymous Leah said...

Two more great show memories. The night of the double header rocked. I am off to blow off some dust right now. Thanks for the reminder.

At 1:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also saw them open for L&R in LA in the late 80's. My favorite song was "Closer to You"


Post a Comment

<< Home