Changing Into Me
From its opening blast of hot-sauna funk, “Come Alive,” the spirit of Stevie Wonder is revived as if he’s already passed away and his ghost is creeping through the grooves. Lemon is old-school pop with no concessions to modern fads. Keyboards pulsate and swirl, as vocalist Roger Smith unloads his hypnotic blue-eyed croon, recalling soul greats such as Al Green and Marvin Gaye, but without seeming derivative. Lemon “rock” in the same way that R & B used to, before studio gloss and hip-hop became dominant forces that smoothed its rough edges. After one spin, this CD will seem like a greatest hits package. The songs are so catchy, especially “Simpleminded,” “One Night Stand” and the propulsive “Ain’t Coming Back.”
While most independents and unsigned artists go for a lo-fi approach, Lemon veer as far from that method as possible. The production is bright and shiny, without seeming antiseptic. The synthesizers have a life of their own, incandescent and sensual, like the funkiest bass lines. But most of the time you’ll find yourself hooked on Smith’s voice, which will melt the coldest of hearts.