For me, Manchester and Amsterdam are connected since the mid-1990s. I used to purposeless walk the city with my walkman. I taped the Second Coming album by Stones Roses and loved every second of it. Extremely underrated album. In ‘Straight to the Man’, Ian Brown sings ‘Amsterdam is Sodom and Gomorrah’. Don’t know why but since the first time I always heard ‘Amsterdam in summertime’.
But, for me, that vocal line connected Manchester and Amsterdam. By that time I travelled a lot to London, Manchester and Birmingham. As a rising music journalist, I tried to experience pop culture from where I thought it happened. I was extremely Britain oriented. Well, let’s be honest: the first part of the 1990s is dominated by British pop culture. Right?
Long story short: Amsterdam felt like a bit like Manchester. I know, also back then, the cities where each other’s opposites: neoliberal, rich, a bit fake versus working class, recovering from economic and social depression, honest. But feelings don’t mind facts.
Since that moment in 1994, the two cites were connected.
In early 1990 there were a couple of Dutch bands that embraced the new exciting sound from Manchester (Charming Children, Pearls For Swains, Eton Crop), but by 2000 focus shifted to the new emerging post-punk scene in New York.
Except for Lemon.
Four lads from Amsterdam madly in love with Manchester.
On their debut album, Lemon took the early 1990s sound and transformed it into something new. Same like Kasabian, The Music en Viva Stereo also did around that time.
From their second Hey… (2006) on they moved towards a more laidback sound, honouring Madchester pioneers Happy Mondays, Stereo MC’s and The Charlatans. They called one of their later albums Nedchester (2011).
And now Lemon is back with an awesome new song.
‘Love Can Take You Places’ is a monument for both Nedchester and Madchester. It embodies the essence of the sound, the blend of northern soul and indie rock, the idea that maybe life isn’t fair but that we still have our music. The ultimate escape.
Scene icon Cath Coffey of Stereo MC’s is present as a guest vocalist and takes the song to a higher level, but it is the excellent songwriting that makes ‘Love Can Take You Places’ stand out.
There is only one possible improvement.
Well, actually two.
We need a way much longer dance version of the song. Like eight minutes with an Andrew Weatherall like touch.
It’s also time for a sixth Lemon album and I want to suggest a couple of new collaborations, including New Order and Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. Maybe Eton Crop (back together again) also want to jam.
For now, I’ll enjoy the excellent quality of ‘Love Can Take You Places’.
Love Can Take You Places by Lemon is self-released.