If life has taught me something strange, it’s that the music of Journey can do many a splendored thing. It can inspire an insanely poor arcade game, it can be used to piss off posh snobs on the golf course and it can even bring a two-person band together. You see according to their website, the first recording by Giant Drag (singer/guitarist Annie Hardy and drummer/synthesizerer Micah Calabrese) was a cover of “Who’s Crying Now.”
Hardy, however, doesn’t sound as girly as Steve Perry. Her voice is more bold, a blend of the former Mrs. John Murphy and the unsinkable Mrs. Thurston Moore. And, for better or worse, Giant Drag’s Lemona lacks Neal Schon’s guitar solos and generally God-awful balladry. This five-song debut EP is instead an angsty blast of love worn, lovelorn alt-rock songwriting with occasional shoegazer guitars.
Lemona opens with the poppy, bounding “This Isn’t It,” a gripe about romantic dissatisfaction and a fling taken for something more. Its bright guitars and uppity sound eventually usher in the downer realization, “Love, love, love / This isn’t it / Love, love, love / You wouldn’t know it if it hit you.” It’s followed by the sinister guitars and pulsing drums of “Tired Yet,” a song about getting dropped in a relationship when your other half grows tired of you.
“Cordial Invitation,” a sonic standout on the EP, plows into My Bloody Valentine territory with its layered guitars, swaying dreamily like a tall tree in a blustery gust. Hardy’s voice, in MBV fashion, gets lost in the wash of sound leaving behind something haunting, echoing and unintelligibly wonderful. “yflmd” draws together the swooning guitars of “Cordial Invitation” with a languid, X-ish riff reminiscent of “The Unheard Music.”
The Lemona finisher, the sharply named “Jonah Ray is AOkay (But That’s All Hearsay),” broods like downtrodden Sonic Youth with dashes of staid synth and weeping guitar. Hardy explores some dark, love lost locales with lyrics like “Love will fade and quickly as it came,” “I will fuck you while you cry” and the quintessential lonely adolescent situation, “What do you do? / Nobody loves you.”
The EP includes a video for “This Isn’t It.” The grainy, super 8-looking video features live show footage intercut with images of Hardy looking entirely disenchanted with the various people next to her in bed. Luckily Lemona doesn’t leave the same bland, shrug-inducing aftertaste. It’s an a-okay extended play.
The Breeders – Last Splash
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation