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Bubblegum Lemonade - Doubleplusgood (Matinee)

22 April 2009

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 MCLUSKEY). 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 Arcade”, 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.