One mention of the phrase ‘rock musical’ and what might spring to mind is ‘Tommy’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ — both works with highly specific concepts. Joining this genre category are The Lemon Twigs with their sophomore effort, ‘Go To School’, a tale of teenage angst, the trials and tribulations of life, and a chimpanzee called Shane.
With fifteen tracks of highly conceptual work, ‘Go To School’ might seem daunting to the casual listener, however once you’re fully immersed, the album tells of heartfelt and relatable tales. With themes including inferiority, bullying and isolation, you’re able to connect with Shane, despite the fact that he is of a different species.
Lyrics such as “My poor father was given Robert as a son / Robert being me / Shamed the family / Slow as slow could be while his father had a PhD,” are an easily recognisable scenario for anyone who has felt as though they don’t belong in their own household. With a track simply titled ‘Lonely’, The Lemon Twigs aptly capture the zeitgeist of young adulthood and the isolation that comes with it. Lines such as, “Sometimes I feel so out of sync with my friends / I grow tired and weak and they say that I’m mean / Well, I’m sorry but I’m not happy,” are gut wrenching and easily identifiable with.
While there are some tracks, such as ‘Rock Dreams’, that might seem to stray a bit too far into musical territory, they remain vital to the overarching storyline and flaunt the dexterity of the D’Addario brothers as songwriters, musicians and producers. ‘Go To School’ is a highly ambitious album and some may be wary of the concept, however, if you unpack it, there’s a touching tale within that can resonate with all.
Words: Jumi Akinfenwa
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