Bubblegum Lemonade - Desperately Seeking Sunshine

matcd085  /  April 2019
Bubblegum Lemonade - Desperately Seeking Sunshine
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Bubblegum Lemonade - Desperately Seeking Sunshine

matcd085  /  April 2019

Eagerly awaited new album from Glasgow pop perfectionists Bubblegum Lemonade! Timed for release just as springtime reaches Scotland, ‘Desperately Seeking Sunshine’ is the latest hit parade from prolific multi-instrumentalist Laz McCluskey with a liberal dose of backing vocals by Sandra of fellow Scottish band Strawberry Whiplash.

Lead track ‘Our Mother’s House’ is a jangly autobiographical radio hit proudly heralding the return of Glasgow’s finest with a song featuring Rickenbacker guitars, glockenspiel, layered harmonies and excellent backing vocals. ‘Warm Heart Cold Feet’ boasts shimmering major seventh chords, classy arpeggio guitars, a Beach Boys bass line, and a tambourine shake finish, while ‘First Dance For the Last Time’ is Laz laughing at his own mortality—classic country song writing in indie pop clothing, witty lyrics, a life-affirming zippy guitar intro, jangling Fender Jaguar guitar solo, and plenty of sha-la-las all at 170bpm.

Never to be a Bubblegum Lemonade single, ‘Just An Album Track’ channels The Stone Roses with Madchester vibes, sunkissed harmonies, crackling record sound effects and clever lyrics on the subject of vinyl fetishism. ‘She Only Smiles For You’ is an alternative disco floor filler with Orange Juice strumming and ace harmonies, and ‘An Avenue In France’ makes its case as perhaps the album’s most outstanding track complete with French sounding melodica intro, backwards 12 string guitars, and a beautiful three part harmony about a brief holiday encounter.

Side two of the album opens with potential radio hit ‘Heaven With You’ with its chiming Byrds-like guitar intro, celestial backing vocals, an infectious hi hat, and more glockenspiel. ‘When Love Bites’ is an exceptional song with baroque instrumentation, another dose of sha-la-las, and Laz on violin, and ‘You Don’t Like Music’ is a Strokes-inspired blast of pop questioning the motivations of some in the music industry and featuring signature double-tracked Jaguar guitar solos and an instantly memorable dual vocal chorus.

‘Girls In The Song’ is an ode to women in song, referencing classic tracks by The Monkees, Velvet Underground, and The Hollies plus previous singles from Bubblegum Lemonade—it’s a superb exercise in song structure with beautiful harmonies and a cascading 12-string climax. ‘Show Me A Miracle, a secular hymn to the great Sunday morning lie-in, is a big production number including baggy inspired wah-wah guitar, more backing vox from Sandra, and an exciting musical climax, while final track ‘What Have You Done For Me Lately?’ is a cheeky backhanded celebration of human achievements that contrasts a soft mono verse with a loud stereo chorus and showcases jangling to the max and a blissful partial fade-out.

Bubbling with insanely catchy songs, rich instrumentation, and stunning pop melodies, ‘Desperately Seeking Sunshine’ is a very welcome return for Bubblegum Lemonade and an essential addition to any reputable record collection.

  1. Our Mother's House
  2. Warm Heart Cold Feet
  3. First Dance For The Last Time
  4. Just An Album Track
  5. She Only Smiles For You
  6. An Avenue In France
  7. Heaven With You
  8. When Love Bites
  9. You Don't Like Music
  10. Girls In The Song
  11. Show Me A Miracle
  12. What Have You Done For Me Lately?


Seeing as it's a big musical anniversary today it seems fitting to have Song(s) of the Day from a pure Indie pop album just out. After all The Stone Roses learned plenty from Primal Scream's Velocity Girl, one of the very best examples of the form way back when... In 1969 Mama Cass, fresh from her separation from the Mamas & the Papas released her second album under the name Cass Elliott, Bubblegum Lemonade & Something for Mama. It's a wonderful carefree pop confection, sticking determinedly to the middle of the showbiz road. Full of the music hall and vaudeville touches that her former band were so fond of, all sugary frills and bows. Behind it all, as ever with Elliott, there seemed to be a touch of genuine heartbreak. But that didn't and doesn't stop the record being great for a moment. Just under thirty years on from that,and twenty five years from Elliot's death, Glaswegian Laz McCluskey started making a series of recordings in thrall to the high church of Indie Pop which have continued to this day. He chose Bubblegum Lemonade as the moniker for his project and frankly nothing could have been more appropriate.The Mamas & the Papas are one of the Sixties touchstones for this stuff, alongside The Byrds, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys and Lovin' Spoonful. Oh and the Ronettes, in fact all girl groups, Nancy Sinatra, blah, blah blah. Oh make your own list! You know this particular script. During the Seventies and Eighties The Ramones, Blondie, Orange Juice and Jesus & Mary Chain in particular added to this legacy and the C-86 bands laid it in stone once and for all. This is the legacy and tradition that McCluskey and Bubblegum Lemonade labour in the service of and his new record Desperately Seeking Sunshine arrived last Friday just in time for Indie kids everywhere to finally toast the late arrival of Spring. Everything is present and correct here, McCluskey is a black belt in this particular form. From the Warhol sleeve to the striped tops he wears to every melodic and lyrical flourish, it's clear that he's not only a wide eyed devotee of this stuff but an accomplished master of it to boot. Whether you choose to indulge yourself very much depends where you stand on the form. Personally, I've been highly partial to stuff like this for over thirty five years so 'Desperately Seeking Sunshine' is right up my street. Not every song on here will rattle your particular cage in all probability. This is conveyor belt stuff in essence but as with the central message of Animal Farm, 'some perfect pop songs are more perfect that others'. But McClusky has a remarkably high bullseye rating this time round. In many respects this kind of music is the ultimate exercise in nostalgia as you advance in years, because it venerates the teenage years and even the pre-teenage years as the purest essence of human experience imaginable. I'd have to say there's a lot more to life than that but look back on those days with enormous fondness and appreciate the likes of Bubblegum Lemonade who can craft such perfectly wrought offerings to the altar. The Byrds are the central ingredient in the Desperately Seeking Sunshine mix. Time and again the songs come together around that celestial Rickenbacker jangle. McClusky's lyrical tone meanwhile is wry but never cruel, Just an Album Track and You Don't Like Music cast aspersions at those seeking to hitch a ride, the kind of people Dylan used to routinely decimate in the mid-Sixties, but it's clear McClusky by contrast is a gentle soul at heart. And he's responsible for a fine pop product here. 'Desperately Seeking Sunshine' is the place where the indie hipsters from Edie to Bobby gather to dance around the record player and get high on life.   --It Starts With A Birthstone
Every release by Bubblegum Lemonade is a cause for celebration at WYMA, and I suspect among jangle pop fans everywhere. One of the musical projects of Glasgow's Lawrence "Laz" McCluskey, it is born of an unwavering conviction that sounds of The Monkees, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Byrds, Velvet Underground and the Rickenbacker guitar are the perfect inspiration for vital music. And it is a thesis that we find to be correct in every respect on the latest album, 'Desperately Seeking Sunshine'. While that jangle is omnipresent here, and very satisfying, it isn't even the star of the show. You see (or, more precisely, hear), Laz is a wiz in crafting melodies and infusing pop dynamics with the dedication and speed of a man bailing out his leaking lifeboat while sharks circle. If Laz's life depends and a good song, he may live forever, and the result of his efforts is the best and most consistent set of songs yet. Whether offering sugary '60s inflected pop such as "Warm Heart Cold Feet" and "Just An Album Track", or Byrdsian instant classics such as "First Dance for the Last Time" (terrific song title, by the way) and "Girls In The Song" or, well, any other song on this album, Desperately Seeking Sunshine delivers a perfect rush of songs that look forward to summer, and sunshine. Promise made in the title, promise delivered on tape. What more could we want?   --When You Motor Away
Bubblegum Lemonade has been a favourite of mine ever since I first heard his music on an early compilation from Matinèe Recordings around 2012. I am still a big fan. His fifth album is a lovely one, and as usual he gives us a collection of beautiful, warm, catchy, jangly indiepop songs. I think all his puns are intended, by the way.   --Eardrums Music (Best of the Month)
Fifth album from Scottish pop maestro Laz McClusky and 5th one worth spending your time (and money ) on. His last one, 2016’s The Great Leap Backwards showed McCluskey flipping out jangly guitar riffs like a young Bobbie Gillespie. In fact his stuff has always reminded me of early Primal Scream and that’s a good thing for those of us weaned on “Velocity Girl” and Sonic Flower Groove. The first two songs, “Our Mother’s House” and “Warm Heart Cold Feet” are solid, not his best, but by song #3 “First Dance For the Last Time” he really begins to hit a stride (hey, dude needs to warm up a little) and he names the next song ‘Just An Album Track” (don’t be so modest, Laz). Elsewhere “An Avenue in France” adds some melodica (an old Lucksmiths trick) and some righteous harmonies while “Heaven With You” sounds like prime Razorcuts. On a few of these songs he gets the mysterious Sandra to add backing vocals (she of the other Laz band, Strawberry Whiplash) and her lovely pipes always add to the song. Is this the best B.G. record? That I am not sure but it’s at least as good as the others and possibly better. I know he’s always got the best retro-looking artwork for his album covers and this one is no different. Buy 'Desperately Seeking Sunshine' and play it back to back with his other records and you determine the best. It’s never easy when they’re all so consistently good.   --Dagger Zine
The Scots bard of pop Laz McCluskey returns with his fifth album from his Bubblegum Lemonade moniker and out of Matinée Recordings. Thankfully nothing has changed as the album resounds with the brilliance of his inimitable jangly-pop fragility.   --Janglepophub
This Friday you’ll all be treated to the brand new LP from Bubblegum Lemonade, 'Desperately Seeking Sunshine'. It’s an apt title for anything involving Laz; his songs always seem to be reaching for that light, reaching for that melody on high. His guitar lines in this new single circle about your ear building this swell of pop bravado that’s sent straight to your brain; and there are also some beautiful little backing vocals to aid in that gesture. I’m just not sure how much praise I can pass on to you in order to get you to listen to the great songs on this album. It’s out Friday via Matinee Recordings.   --Austin Town Hall
Parlare della musica dello scozzese Laz McCluskey è ormai pleonastico. I suoi Bubblegum Lemonade sono dei veterani e da più di un decennio la Matinée Recordings porta avanti la sua idea splendidamente retrò di indie pop, ispirata più ai Byrds e ai Beach Boys che alla scena britannica di fine Ottanta. Laz è uno di quei preziosi artigiani pop in grado di confezionare una canzone orecchiabile dietro l'altra senza diminuirne mai il livello qualitativo, e in questo ennesimo (quinto se conto bene) album lo dimostra con la solita sorridente e sorniona naturalezza. Le chitarre scampanellano leggere come sempre, le melodie si succedono ariose e profumate di California e persino i consueti variopinti colori della copertina sono perfettamente coerenti con il contenuto, per non parlare del titolo, Desperately Seeking Sunshine, che suona davvero programmatico.   --Just Another Pop Song
Non poteva che sbocciare al termine di un grigio inverno scozzese il nuovo frutto della scanzonata creatività di Lawrence ‘Laz’ McCluskey, per la quinta volta sotto le insegne di Bubblegum Lemonade. “Desperately Seeking Sunshine” appare infatti con chiarezza il frutto della ricerca da parte di Laz di un calore e di una leggerezza tutta primaverile, che va di pari passo con quella della perfetta canzone pop. Undici ne contiene il lavoro, tutti poco oltre la media canonica dei tre minuti di durata e tutti infarciti di una fluida classe di scrittura, che trova corrispondenza nei ritmi vorticosi con i quali Laz accosta e riassume sfumature stilistiche del pop che, di tutta evidenza, ha assorbito nel corso di tanti anni da ascoltatore appassionato. Almeno tre decenni di linguaggi pop attraversa “Desperately Seeking Sunshine”, bilanciando languori jangly e arpeggi delicati, più robusti accenni guitar pop e una varietà di arrangiamenti creativi che di ogni canzone fanno una miniatura unica, tutta da scoprire. E ogni canzone risuona come un potenziale singolo radiofonico, da ascoltare con la pelle baciata dal sole, senza indulgere alla nostalgia di stagioni che furono, richiamate di volta in volta da accurate stratificazioni armoniche, organi e wah wah assortiti, ma temperate dalla matura classe pop dell’artista scozzese e dall’ironia dei suoi testi, che non mancano di rivisitare alla luce della contemporaneità i temi propri di un approccio al pop classico e incontaminato, che vale a tutte le latitudini, in tutte le stagioni.   --Music Won't Save You