CD REVIEW: Lemon Hill - Demo Recordings
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Rock, R&B, Psychedelic Rock
Sounds Like: Counting Crows, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, The Fray, Blinf Melon
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Weakness: EP release, short sided EP release, CD packaging and manufacturing
Lemon Hill is a Philadelphia based rock band that combines various genres to combine a feel good rock n roll vibe. The band has just released their debut self titled EP in 2014. Band members include: Jake Dean ( bass) , Lou Graff (guitar), Domenic Malandro (lead vocals & sax).
The CD gently lifts off the ground with Track 1 “Love Arrives” a heartfelt flowing ballad that serves up well placed acoustic guitar meshed against pulsating bass line, inviting strings, effective harmonies and soulful melody from Malandro. Track 2 “Medium Man” shifts gears a bit with steady flowing jazzy-type rhythm, well placed rhythm guitar, impressive solo, and a slamming feel painted against a grand slam chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Both tracks deliver heartfelt grooves with methodical musical build with impressive 4 piece arrangements. The musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. I would classify this music as classic Americana Pop, with brief touches of Alternative Rock, and even R&B. Music is reminiscent of classic Led Zeppelin, Oasis, Counting Crows, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and even Blind Melon. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive Saxophone, organ, impressive rhythm section, impressive R&B guitar licks, well placed Organ, lush harmonies all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Malandro - as for his vocal abilities well he’s a great advent to this style. His voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an appealing baritone and warm timber that is infectious. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting. All songs have much in the way of groove ability. This EP teaser from Lemon Hill delivers 10 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity.
I typically deduct 1 star for EP releases. The full length release is the best vantage point to review a band or artists from at any give point of time. This EP is a bit short with just 2 songs. Perhaps 2-3 more tracks are needed to make this a fully loaded EP teaser. The CD itself is not composed of high-quality silk screen material, and there is no jewel case. Some of the aforementioned items are not typical of Professional grade CD/EP releases.
From start to finish this 2 track demo releases from Lemmon Hill is a good start – I only wish there was more material to chew on. The songwriting – hits the standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this demo. The writing and playing abilities from Lemmon Hill are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned conventional wisdom At the end of the day Lemon Hill bring the mojo and is clearly one band to keep an eye on out of Philadelphia