Bubblegum Lemonade - Doubleplusgood

matcd048  /  November 2008
Bubblegum Lemonade - Doubleplusgood
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Bubblegum Lemonade - Doubleplusgood

matcd048  /  November 2008

Fantastic debut album from Scottish pop favorites Bubblegum Lemonade! Following smash singles ‘Ten Years Younger’ and ‘Susan’s In The Sky’ earlier this year, the band delivers its all-important debut album just in time for holiday shopping and it’s a grand one of course!

‘A Billion Heartbeats’ kicks the album off with a 150 bpm adrenalin rush—if the Jesus and Mary Chain had studied anthropology they may have written something like this. Meanwhile, ‘Beautiful Friends’ is a paper thin celebration of surface beauty sort of like The Byrds' ‘Lady Friend’ re-written by the Valentines, and ‘I'll Never Be Yours’ is big chorus pop featuring Sandra from fellow Glasgow pop outfit Strawberry Whiplash on backing vocals. Think The Only Ones meets The Primitives with the recommended daily dosage of tambourines and you’re nearly there.

‘Tired Of Sleeping’ is a jangledelic ode to sleeping with the radio on, complete with multi-tracked 12-string Rickenbacker action straight from the early days of Creation or Cherry Red. ‘Last Time I Saw Andrew’ moves us into the ‘90’s with a lazy, looping, slow burning nostalgia somewhat like a cross between Slowdive and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It's dream pop-tastic. ‘Susan's In The Sky’ is the title track from Bubblegum Lemonade's second single. An everyday tale of an air hostess and her slacker boyfriend caught up in a Romeo and Juliet type scenario, it's a sunshine wall of pop with Rickenbacker guitars, tambourines and nice organ bits. A classic!

‘Penny Fountain’ opens side two of the album with some Paisley Underground inspired bittersweet guitar pop. It’s a swinging mini epic that should have been another single. ‘My Dreams Of You’ contains Rickenbacker riffs, harmony vocals and portamento keyboards. Catchier than Byrd flu, it’s west coast indie pop art and the perfect prelude to the sixties come down sunshine guitar pop with guitar freak out ending that follows in ‘Lost Summer Days’.

Subliminally suggested by Vance Packard, ‘Here They Come’ masks criticism of the morally corrupt elements of the advertising industry behind jangling guitars and rich harmonies, while ‘Tyler’ is Rickenbacker pop about a cat. You don’t get many pop songs about cats these days, do you? Finally, ‘Last Weekend’ is some eighties sounding, major seventh acoustic strumming with strings and tambourine about the breakup of a long distance relationship. The band was going for Felt meets The Field Mice but ended up with Prefab Sprout instead. Ha!

With an educated nod to its influences, remarkably catchy songs, and stunning pop melodies, Bubblegum Lemonade remind us that old school indie is always in style. ‘Doubleplusgood’ is a superb example of the vibrant new music coming out of Glasgow and another modern classic from Matinée!

  1. A Billion Heartbeats
  2. Beautiful Friends
  3. I'll Never Be Yours
  4. Tired Of Sleeping
  5. Last Time I Saw Andrew
  6. Susan's In The Sky
  7. Penny Fountain
  8. My Dreams Of You
  9. Lost Summer Days
  10. Here They Come
  11. Tyler
  12. Last Weekend


After two beautiful EPs from Bubblegum Lemonade, the solo project of Glaswegian multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Lawrence “Laz” McLuskey, comes one graceful album of C-86 brilliance. ‘Doubleplusgood’ opens with ‘A Billion Heat Beats’, which is like early Primal Scream, when they were still the best band in the world. Backed by early Jesus and Mary Chain-style vocals, it has a guitar break that James Beattie would love. ‘Beautiful Friends’ is a fast and furious guitar based number and played in a true retro rose- tinted glasses way.‘ I'll Never Be Yours’ is a slow core Jesus and Mary Chain-style number, with extra Primitives backing vocals and that is pure heaven. ‘Tired of Sleeping’ has a Byrds jingle jangle and a vocal from Laz that creeps back from C-86. Its guitar solo again recalls Jim Beattie or even early Peter Buck. ‘Last Time, I Saw Andrew’ has a‘9 Million Rainy Days’ Jesus and Mary Chain flow and added organ, while ‘Susan's in the Sky’ is a C-86 wet dream, with jingle jangle Rickenbackers and primitive drums. Complete bubblegum pop, it is superb for it. ‘Penny Fountain’ sounds somewhere between Cornershop’s ‘Brimful of Asha’and early REM. ‘My Dreams of You’ is like a slowed-down Byrds, very 1960s in a cool black and white way. ‘Lost Summer Days’ is slow with a drum machine pace. Imagine the Beach Boys on a tight budget. ‘Here They Come’ is again like early Primal Scream, and a sugar-coated pop number, ‘Tyler’ again has a Rickenbacker jangle and a love song for a cat. ‘Last Weekend’ is lush and wide screened, and, a song about a farewell kiss, the perfect closely. It is as lovely as the rest of this album, a perfect Rickenbacker-flavoured pop album for the 21st century.   --Pennyblack Magazine
Bubblegum Lemonade's brand of indie pop is influenced heavily by the 1960's especially that of jangle pop creators, The Byrds. Doubleplusgood pays homage to the sounds of the 12 string Rickenbacker as played by Roger McGuinn and used to great effect by an early Primal Scream and other "C86" bands. That early 1980's reference is quite apt considering Lawrence "Laz" McCluskey's obvious love of The Jesus And Mary Chain, The Primitives and My Bloody Valentine whose fuzzy guitar noise is also an influence but less prevalent here than on some of the tracks that backed the singles. The album opens with A Billion Heartbeats which is a glorious throwback to sounds referenced above. The excellent Susan's In the Sky single also appears as does Tyler taken from last years Hit Parade compilation but it's the previously unheard tracks that cause surprise and delight. Pick of the bunch are Tired Of Sleeping which is vintage 1980's indie pop whilst Penny Fountain, which is the most obvious choice for another single, bubbles away nicely on the jangle pop stove. Overall the album sounds more relaxed, more easy going when compared to the flip sides of the singles but a noisy blast or two (Just Like You for example) would have brought some variety to the proceedings. That said Doubleplusgood is devastatingly effective and is worthy of your hard earned pennies.   --Sounds XP
Laz McCluskey is a Scottish pop obsessive who carries his influences like a flag -- the C-86 gang (especially Tallulah Gosh and Primal Scream), the Byrds, the Rain Parade, the Jesus and Mary Chain and pretty much anything with a hook, a jangling guitar, and just enough of a melodic quirk to identify itself as "indie" rather than "mainstream." McCluskey is the sole official member of Bubblegum Lemonade (a name he got from an obscure album by Cass Elliot), and on his first full-length album, Doubleplusgood, he delivers a dozen sweet, guitar-powered pop tunes created with the help of his Rickenbacker, a drum program, and his computer. McCluskey's work sounds admirably warm and organic given its one-man-band genesis, and say what you want about digital technology, but this stuff sounds a whole lot better than the four-track cassette recordings every pop-minded kid was foisting upon the world back in the 1980s. Of course, in many respects Doubleplusgood isn't especially different from what your neighborhood Paisley Underground collector or Sarah Records completist might have been hawking on cassette at the local cool record store 25 years earlier, and while McCluskey lovingly honors his influences, he doesn't do much here to suggest he could ever match the level of their work. But he does have a sure hand with a melody, his guitar work is solid and concise, and there's a genuine love for the music that radiates throughout these songs; it's clear that McCluskey is doing this music for all the right reasons, and when something like "I'll Never Be Yours," "A Billion Heartbeats," or "Susan's in the Sky" comes around, it's not hard to imagine Bubblegum Lemonade having a bright future among fellow pop fanatics.   --All Music Guide
The debut album from Glasgow’s Bubblegum Lemonade opens with a pleasing blast of fuzzy guitar-pop. Bubblegum Lemonade instantly resembles a band making noise in the basement, but it’s actually one guy, Laz (aka Lawrence McCluskey). That opening song, “A Billion Heartbeats”, is romantic, blur-of-summer, car-crash guitar-pop, in the vein of Jesus and Mary Chain or even current hot thing The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. It’s a rush of noise around good-old-fashioned pop melody, and of course wrapped up at once with wishes, dreams, and hopes. The songs are sometimes more dreamy/artsy, sometimes more overtly ‘60s,and sometimes more stripped-down, but still that’s the general path here, that furious romantic bittersweet thing. Witness song titles like “Lost Summer Days”, “My Dreams of You”, and “I’ll Never Be Yours” to get a feel for that sensibility. “I’ll Never Be Yours” has guitars crash but also drop away to give harmonies some room, a perfect technique for the lazy-day start and the forelorn tone of the chorus. “Susan’s in the Sky”, previously released as a single, is especially breezy and romantic: “in the summer / in the night-time / we’ll sleep beneath the stars.” The song after it, “Penny Fountain”, sort of picks up where it leaves off, with another light but winning tune, and ends with a fuzzy cartoon bass that seems from another world. Other songs turn more interior, dealing with the individual’s mental state. Doubleplusgood projects a giddy rush of feeling but also the come-down from that. “I didn’t know there was a problem / until you told me,” goes the first line of “Here They Come”, a moment of coming back to reality. These songs capture the sound of people gliding along in a dream – or, like the cat in “Tyler”, “lazing in the sun / ignoring everyone” – and, occasionally, the sound of people crashing back to earth. It’s more the former, though, really.   --The Big Takeover Magazine
The new Bubblegum Lemonade album has just been released by the history in the making Matinée record label. Bubblegum Lemonade are a one man band consisting of Lawrence “Laz” McCluskey who also fronts another band Strawberry Whiplash. Both bands are certified C-86 with credentials like McCluskey playing a 12 string and his adoration of Talulah Gosh, Teenage Fanclub and the Razorcuts. After putting out two 4 song eps, he’s just unleashed Doubleplusgood on Matinée Records. It’s a study in the pop rush with hooks and pop goodness washing over you like a California coastal break.   --The Finest Kiss
A lot of folks think indie rock got off the ground sometime a few months before the premier screening of Garden State. You're not one of those totally confused types. Others are so misinformed they mark the genre's genesis about the same time that Pitchfork started publishing in the late '90s, but you're not so sadly mistaken. You're the sort of dedicated well informed rock fan that knows its roots stretch far back into the '80s, with the C86 scene, the guitar pop of bands like The Smiths and The Wedding Present and the Sarah Records heyday, right? Right? If you are that sort of listener, Bubblegum Lemonade speaks your language. The Scottish act, which is the vehicle for one-man singer/songwriter/pop addict Laz, picks up and delves into the old-school indie as if the Internet, the silver screen and Brooklyn hadn't worked so hard to render the style so darn modern. Starting off with the base of Jesus and Mary Chain styled psychedelia and '80s indie-pop that made Bubblegum Lemonade's EPs so adorable, Doubleplusgood takes the act farther and deeper into the bowels of early-era indie than token nods to the triumphs of the past. But you're the type who knows that without having to read about it here, aren't you? If you're not, don't feel bad. Doubleplusgood is as good of an indie Rosetta Stone as you're likely to find this season. "A Billion Heartbeats" and "I'll Never Be Yours" pile on the big-room reverb as they explore the same pop forms that trace their lineage back to '60s bands like The Ronettes and The Dave Clark Five, though the production links it to JAMC and the nascent shoegaze scene. "Last Weekend" drops the psychedelia for acoustic pop augmented by string orchestration for smart pop that's reminiscent of Pulp or Felt. "Susan's In the Sky," which appeared as the title track to Bubblegum Lemonade's second EP last year, and "My Dreams of You" dip into that universal well of indie-pop inspiration that was the Sarah Records back catalog, although the band winds the bedsit pop in dense distortion and reverb. A little history lesson means nothing if Bubblegum Lemonade can't make it reach in through your ears to tickle your soul, and Doubleplusgood does just that. If you're the sort of grizzled indie fan who can check off Laz's classic influences, you'll love this album. If you're a little shaky about the days of indie-rock past, don't worry: Doubleplusgood should be just everything you need to foster a taste for the old stuff.   --Aversion.com
After a few excellent EPs, it's about time we got a full length record from Laz McCluskey (the Scottish mastermind behind both Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash)! For those who have been following their output, Bubblegum Lemonade are the perfect missing link between the lackadaisical surf/noise-pop of Jesus And Mary Chain and Razorcuts-ish janglepop. Sometimes his songs swing one way or the other, but the ones that combine the two styles are the most interesting. A couple of these songs are familiar ("Tyler" and the title track to his last EP, "Susan's In The Sky"), and combined with the other ten tracks, there is nary a dull moment on this record. Now, let's see if he's also got it in him for more Strawberry Whiplash material!   --IndiePages
Next up we have the debut album from Scotland’s Bubblegum Lemonade, the home to delightful indie pop for some time. On lead track A Billion Heartbeats, imagine the impossible cool of the Mary Chain, with surfing keys and a delightfully lolloping fuzz pop tune and you’re somewhere close. Then you have Beautiful Friends, which shimmies and throws its fringe around. The majority of the songs are two minutes something long, which seems a perfect length for a band dispensing carefully crafted bubblegum pop with ease. There’s a great instrumental break on Tired Of Sleeping, which is otherwise a fine jangle pop tune. Last Time I Saw Andrew is like a fuzzy hangover feeling, disorientating but somehow sweet. The realisation dawns on Penny Fountain that there is a certain similarity to the bands songs. Some are straight pop songs, other a little rough around the edges, but ultimately they’re all pretty great tunes. Because of this you find they’re a band that can get away with writing a whole album of similar songs, but due to the high quality control it’s immensely listenable.   --Russell’s Reviews
This album sounds like a mix between Primal Scream's ‘Gentle Tuesday’ and The Stone Roses’ ‘This is the One’. I eat this sound up, it brings me back to the late 80's. A must buy if you like twee. Every song on this album is great.   --The Soundtrack of My Life
The year 2008 was a productive one for Laz, the mastermind behind Scotland's fuzz-pop outfit Bubblegum Lemonade. Having released two solid sticky-sweet EPs on Matinée Recordings in the year's first two-thirds, Doubleplusgood, his first LP is an appropriate year-end summation. Laz's songwriting and production template doesn't vary much here from what he's put forth before. His rhythm section is simplistic and minimal, his guitars are coated in layers of cotton candy fluff which make the obvious chord progressions gooey, unpretentious fun. Bubblegum Lemonade taps into the vein of C86, when British pop comfortably wrapped itself shambling musicianship and hazy vocals. It's not a reinvention of any means -- and the formula becomes a little too limiting to sustain interest for the album's 12 tracks -- but the inherent familiarity of tracks like "Susan's in the Sky," "I'll Never Be Yours" and "Penny Fountain" are primed to explode out of pop lovers' open car windows this spring.   --Ink 19
Sulla pagina Myspace della band "gemella" di questi Bubblegum Lemonade, Strawberry Whiplash, sostiene che chiunque a Glasgow fa parte di una pop-band; e, per quanto verosimile possa essere l'affermazione, bisogna ammettere che lui contribuisce non poco a tener alta la media del rapporto tra popolazione e gruppi musicali, visto che è stato ed è tuttora coinvolto in una mezza dozzina di progetti, dei quali proprio questi due più recenti sono stati prontamente messi sotto contratto dalla Matinée, etichetta il cui nome è un'autentica garanzia in ambito indie-pop. Il soggetto in questione è un rubicondo quarantenne che risponde al nome di Lawrence "Laz" McCluskey, e che dall'aspetto potrebbe incarnare alla perfezione lo stereotipo di un indie-boy scozzese troppo cresciuto, mentre dall'atteggiamento e dalla passione con cui vive la musica potrebbe sembrare un personaggio uscito dalla penna di Nick Hornby. Appassionato di qualsiasi cosa negli ultimi quarant'anni sia suonato "pop", il buon Laz, accompagnato da altri tre musicisti (tra cui la moglie Sandra), si presenta imbracciando la sua fedele dodici corde Rickenbacker e dichiarando esplicitamente l'influenza sixties sulla sua musica. Dati questi presupposti e in linea con le anticipazioni offerte da due Ep usciti nel corso dell'anno ("Ten Years Younger" e "Susan’s In The Sky"), l'album di debutto non poteva che essere una raccolta di brevi popsongs dalle melodie semplici e coinvolgenti, ma supportate da un discreto impianto strumentale, che non solo non contraddice il palese riferimento ai Byrds, ma attinge a piene mani da un lato all'esperienza pop scozzese (House Of Love, Teenage Fanclub, Pastels, Delgados) e dall'altro agli aspetti più melodici espressi lungo tutto l'arco temporale della musica inglese che va dai Jesus & Mary Chain alla Sarah Records, lambendo altresì i primi My Bloody Valentine e il Madchester-sound. Insomma, di tutto un po' e nemmeno troppo rielaborato, ma messo al servizio di dodici canzoni brevi (trentadue minuti in tutto) che, superato l'approccio moderatamente lo-fi degli Ep, entrano facilmente in circolo, non solo grazie alla limpidezza delle melodie ma soprattutto in ragione del corposo contributo chitarristico e di ritmiche decisamente poco invasive eppure contrassegnate da percettibili sfumature wave. La straordinaria naturalezza di "Doubleplusgood" relega agevolmente in secondo piano considerazioni di ordine stilistico, conformando secondo fisionomie di volta in volta mutevoli brani che non pretendono di essere altro che canzoni pop, perfette nella fugacità della loro bellezza e durata. Laz confeziona infatti in modo mirabile melodie giocose e discretamente solari, che alternano chitarre liquide e arrotondate, ritmi trascinanti, tastiere briose e persino qualche moderato accenno psichedelico. Volendo praticare il gioco degli accostamenti, vengono in mente le tante band inglesi dalle maglie a righe e dai capelli sugli occhi, il sognante languore dei La's o i Clientele spogliati delle loro atmosfere uggiose; ma il denso suono creato dai Bubblegum Lemonade riesce comunque a evitare rischi di eccessiva prevedibilità, in prevalenza diluendo l'esile tensione elettrica in melodie scatenate, ma anche irrobustendo suoni e ritmiche ("Beautiful Friends" potrebbe sembrare uscita da "Isn't Anything"!) o instillando una sottile malinconia finale ("Last Weekend"), che contraddice solo in parte lo spirito gioioso del resto del lavoro. Divertente ed evidentemente divertito, questo coloratissimo debutto incarna alla perfezione l'essenza di tutto quanto possa chiedersi a un genuino disco pop, sostenuto da immutato entusiasmo per la musica e ricchissimo di canzoni contagiose che, parafrasando il nome della band, definiscono la freschissima dimostrazione di un bubblegum-pop niente affatto stucchevole e dal particolare (retro)gusto di limone.   --Ondarock