Review: The Lemonheads, Varshons

(Cooking Vinyl)

Evan Dando has delivered some brilliant covers - Mike Nesmith's Different Drum and Simon & Garfunkel's Mrs Robinson among them - so it's surprising that he has taken until now to release an album of them. On Varshons, he applies his trademark drawl and guitar twang to songs as diverse as Townes Van Zandt's Waiting Around to Die and Linda Perry's Beautiful (written for Christina Aguilera). His take on Gram Parsons's I Just Can't Take It Anymore is heartfelt; obscure psychedelicists Sam Gopal's Yesterlove and Leonard Cohen's Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye are equally haunting. Inspired by the old mix tapes of Butthole Surfer Gibby Haynes (who produced this album), Dando delivers surprises: a great electro duet with Kate Moss on Arling & Cameron's Dirty Robot, and Layin' Up With Linda, a bleakly funny murder ballad from the punk performance artist GG Allin, usually remembered for smearing himself with excrement. Dando misfires when songs don't suit him - Wire's Fragile loses its tension - but this is worth an hour of anybody's time.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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