Album Review: don’t get lemon – Have Some Shame

don’t get lemon continue to broaden the horizons of their compelling, hybrid sound on their stellar sophomore album Have Some Shame

Characterised by their creative, genre-defying sound and effortless sense of swaggering charm and appeal, Texas trio don’t get lemon have won over raptures of reverence and acclaim over the last few years with a defining style of music that they have affectionately dubbed “heatwave’, a fiery, sharp contrast to the distant feel of chillwave. The band look to expand upon this sound on their brand new sophomore album Have Some Shame, a shimmering and captivating release that pushes their adventurous nature to new heights.

The album’s title track kicks things off in compelling fashion, moody and atmospheric but with an eclectic, synth-laden soundscape that hints at more soaring and anthemic moments to come. The track has a really grounded and memorable approach stylistically that makes for some really rousing and fun moments, especially in an effortlessly cool sing-a-long chorus that sticks to you long after your listen.

This is followed by the triumphant ‘Blow-Up’, the band’s 2023 single that proved to be a defining moment for the band. Their signature appeal continues to glow throughout the track, with the sound feeling more experimental and fun than ever while holding onto the accessible and charming edge that has won them over so much acclaim. The synthy nature of these sounds really brings the tracks to life in colourful fashion adding a whole new dimension to a sound that was already packed full of life.

‘Say Something New For Once’ sees a similarly inspiring instrumental immediately met with Austin Curtis’ Brian Ferry-like croon, evoking a glittering new wave aesthetic that pulls the genre to the modern day with its slick production and expansive edge, whereas ‘Highway 59’ takes on a more laid-back approach that still manages to lead to these soaring and emotive moments that the band pull off so effortlessly.

The slow-burning and atmospheric ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ auspiciously lives up to his name, making for a moving odyssey of a track that is littered full of sonic nuances and quirks on its way to making for one of the most powerful moments on the album. While don’t get lemon often operate best in their most expansive and upbeat moments, the track showcases just how gripping their sound can feel when slowed down and they really soak the emotion out of every note and moment.

Things soon spark back into life on ‘Last Chance For Romance’, an energetic and vibrant track that sees effervescent synths and engrossing guitars creating a stunning kaleidoscope of sound befitting such a romantic and charming release. ‘Automatic Core’ proves to be a stark contrast to the track, revelling in their darker new wave tendencies and venturing towards post-punk at times with an aura and more biting vocal style that feels just as exciting but for altogether different reasons.

There is a desperation and searching feeling that engulfs ‘The Crest of a Wave’ making for a feel that stands out even on an album that traverses so many ideas and styles and gives it a real sense of urgency. The more vibrant and eclectic side of the band’s instrumentation takes a back-seat on the track, instead using the sound as more of a support and platform for another powerful performance from Austin.

The apex of the album comes in the form of its closing track ‘Pop Star Salvation’, a track that feels like a culmination of everything that has come so far, melding a range of sounds and styles to craft something that feels grand, moody, mysterious, and still packed full of the quirks and idiosyncrasies that have made the album such a joy on the whole. The track builds and builds, once again creating one of these marvellous atmospheric moments that the band seem to revel in, and ending the album on a resounding high.

Have Some Shame is an album that feels like only don’t get lemon could have made. While taking queues from new wave and synth-pop sounds of the past, the band have put the genres in a cocktail with their own distinctive flair and created something that feels vibrant and fresh, free from the shackles of the past and with fun surprises and enchanting moments around every corner. Austin Curtis, Nick Ross and Bryan Curtis have something that feels authentic and real, entirely their own while paying homage to what has come before, and it feels invariably inspiring throughout the length of the album.