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Album Review: Dope Lemon - Kimosabé

Looking Ahead to November

My wife and I are flying to Phoenix. We get there on a Saturday morning, so we’ll hit several thrift stores and restaurants. After staying there for a night, we will head to Joshua Tree. From there, we have no specific destination until Thursday, when we want to be in Monterey to visit my brother, Jamie.

I breathe in thoughts of our trip like they’re pure oxygen. The idea of driving with my best friend, absorbing the beautiful scenery, and listening to our favorite music lifts me lightly off the ground.

The Road Trip Soundtrack

You know what I’m talking about: that playlist, album, live show, or song that helps the miles pass. One song that pops into my mind is “Mississippi Half Step” by Grateful Dead. Phish’s “David Bowie” is another one. A couple of friends suggested “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. I can also choose from almost any live show and be happy; it’s driving long enough to hear every song. Hopefully, you can see where I am going with this discussion.

Back to the End of September

It’s an unfortunate coincidence that I received this album yesterday. I need a good long drive to listen to and dissect it. Instead, I am fitting it between work, chores, dropping off my wife’s car, and getting my run in. Plus, I have to give Cherry Glazerr’s I Don’t Want You Anymore a final edit. That’s without considering the mental energy I have to give to dealing with life drama, calling my dad, and prepping for NaNoWriMo 2023. I have a lot on my plate, and Dope Lemon deserves more room and time.

Dope Lemon “Slinging Dimes” into “Give Me That Fire”

When I have a deadline of a day, my words are me buying time while listening to the album. However, if I can really tune in, my review can become a painting of thoughts the music helps me produce. My opening section was that painting. Note: “Give Me That Fire” came on after I wrote the two prior sentences. In it, he says, “When you’re in tune.” Haha. Nice.

An Explanation

Kimosabé should be played in its entirety without interruptions. I know that sounds nearly impossible, but is it?

Silent your notifications, and go for a drive or a long run. If it is your thing, clean the bathroom, meal prep for the week, or sit on the couch and stare at the wall. Whatever you do that allows you to listen to this album from beginning to end, do it.

Beginning with “Kimosabé,” Dope Lemon sets a mood: funky, cool, funny, and slightly chill. It’s a tone that says, “Don’t fuck with my vibe,” without aggression. It is followed by a catchy, alt-rock song that further defines the groove. “Golden God” is the longest song on the album; “You need to see what’s good in the world/Otherwise, how are you going to live at all?”

Reread those lines. Kimosabé is a reminder that to live and fight, we must also see the good in the world. Sometimes, it is as clear as a perfectly blue day, but other times, the moments that make life worth living are hidden amongst the daily rubble.

I wish I had perfect comparisons to make; maybe “Broke Down Casino” and “Give Me That Fire” reminded me of Unknown Mortal Orchestra. But it’s just an element here and there. Dope Lemon fits into that vast space that is alt-rock but still has the talent to stand out.

Final Thought: This does not feel complete. However, if you pair mine with the other positive reviews, you might feel like I do: This is one of my favorite albums of the year.

Absolute Final Thought: How stupid am I? How did I miss that this was Angus Stone? How did I not make the connection? No wonder this is a fantastic album.

Favorite Songs: “Golden God,” “Blue Moon Fox,” and “Give Me That Fire”

Rating - 5/5 (near perfection)

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