‘Lemonhead Drive’, the latest album from independent musician, Jude
Gwynaire, further distils his love for Americana and the trappings of
popular culture. I hope you’ve brought your appetite! This hearty
smorgasbord of an album is served up, with relish; satisfaction
guaranteed, thanks to the sheer variety of flavours on your plate. It
stands to reason Jude’s Midwest mindset offers passing diners ‘all you
Although the tonal tonal range is broad, here, Jude keeps the going
light with the emphasis on musicality, never weighted down with
self-importance. One feels at home, in the company of an assured
performer working at the top of his game. Nothing less than one might
expect, since Jude has been around the block and has this territory all
The strongest tracks share, in common, a strong narrative trajectory
that speaks of a talent for storytelling.
If the soundworld of the ‘eighties was brash, and that of the ‘nineties,
bold, Jude spirit perhaps belongs to the ‘seventies, the age of
aspiration and hope. Brave New Worlds. The tracks ‘Dark Ferris’ and
‘Virus Gun’ open onto chaos and the flipside of the American Dream.
Distorted guitars and an undercurrent of discord that threatens to
overwhelm. But even at his darkest, Jude can’t help himself and one
waits for those moments when our avuncular maestro intercedes, his
guiding influence steering us away from the precipice, along roads he
knows so well.
‘DayGlo Garden’ is a stroll through John Carpenter’s neighbourhood,
whirling like a deranged tune played by a passing ice-cream van.
Frothy, vaguely threatening. ‘Drive in With Cindy’ plays across the
street from a Black Moth garage jam!
‘The Street Where Tammy Lives’ is three blocks down memory lane.
Sun-kissed, soft-focus. Sprinklers keep the gardens green.
Memories of first love are found in the upswell of Jude’s riffing guitar
that breaks clear of neatly ordered chords.
Jude’s most seductive tune reminds us how easy life can be, when love is
new and lives across the street – close by and yet forever out of reach.
We’re on safe ground. The vibe is homely, aspirational.
Think Charlie Brown and home-made lemonade. School bus rides and
Jude catches a nostalgic vibe, rekindling a half-forgotten world of
limitless possibilities. ‘The Street Where Tammy Lives’ is a refuge
from the chaos of an unpredictable world. My heart lives there, too!
Jude’s guitar has evolved into a more precise instrument, these days.
The tonal signature is clean and crisp, driving within the limits,
undistorted, but ever-striving. The production is controlled, never
constrictive. ‘Write on Through the Sun’ – The clear-eyed innocence of
bright, open notes evoke a nostalgia for the possibilities of tomorrow.
‘Lemonhead Drive’ runs alongside the eternal Highways of the American
Midwest, where we find Jude in his element, driving with one eye on the
rearview mirror, searching for the source of the American Dream.