Psych rockers Lemon Lemon launch on the UK scene to promote debut LP

Clearly, Lemon Lemon love being in Manchester. Their excitement for their upcoming set was obvious as they crunched through beers and sucked down smokes pre-gig. Bass player Matteo Licordari summed it up succinctly, telling me, “We love Manchester. Venice has a cool punk scene but there is nothing compared to what’s going on here.”

A project born out of the punk scene in Venice, Lemon Lemon has background all over the creative landscape. A jazz graduate on sax, a post-punk inspired drummer and a Zappa enthusiast on bass. It all comes together to produce a groovy and vibrant sound that got hips moving at Big Hands on an icy January Saturday night.

Lemon Lemon itself has been playing together for five years in one form or another. Making the most of the limited time they can get together, the band released their vibrant debut album, The Harvest, late last year. When I quizzed the band about their jam-heavy creative process, frontman Alberto Santinon, a Manchester resident, delved into the origins of their debut record.

“We recorded some drafts during some jam sessions and when we got to review them, we found that we had so many different ideas going on,” he noted. “That’s kind of where the album name comes from: harvesting different ideas and influences.”

He’s definitely right; the variety on show during their set was impressive, opening with the infectious ‘Hole In My Pocket’ before launching into a series of indie-inspired tracks. The influence of DIY artists Mac DeMarco and Tame Impala are clear in all their tunes, especially in daydreamy tracks like ‘Hotel Martini’ and ‘Hey Hey’.

Throughout, the sax from Stefano Giuntoli added serious depth to Lemon Lemon’s sound. Alberto summed it up well when speaking to the audience: “This is Stefano on sax. He’s just fucking good.”

Considering the limited time the band are all in the same country, the body of work they have already compiled is mighty impressive. Alberto lives in Manchester but the rest of the band still resides in Venice. Keeping a band together over 1000 kilometres can’t be easy, still, Alberto insisted they were keen to exploit any time together.

“In the past we have only been able to rehearse around ten times a year, but with our album out now, we want to build and build.”

Maybe it was the limited time that Lemon Lemon can share the stage as a foursome that made their set so infectious. Grinning Italians performing catchy psych rock all played out in front of a willing audience brought no complaints from me.

Going forward, the band has its sight set on gigs, jams and recording as they build on their UK launch. An upcoming project with animator Nespy, a Viagra Boys collaborator, implies that these Italian psych rockers have big plans. If you’re in the market for a genuine DIY sound, look no further: Lemon Lemon’s infectious riffs and varied influences make them quite a package.

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