Updated: Jul 12, 2019
It’s a Sunday afternoon and you’ve just woken up from a nap. There’s a waft of smoke from a cigar that’s perched dormant on the side of an ash tray. The wooden wind chime blows rhythmically in the wind. You walk out onto the porch, and gaze upon the fields that seem to go for eternity. There’s a calmness here. A tranquillity that is palpable. You turn to your left and Angus Stone is rocking on the old wicker chair, ready to introduce you to the Smooth Big Cat that is the reason you’re here.
Dope Lemon has come into its own with a scorching sophomore record that will leave you floating on cloud nine. A psychedelic folk acid trip is ready to sweep you off your feet into a world that is so Angus Stone that it makes all previous Angus Stone projects seem like it was created from a long lost brother that randomly appears in the seventh season of a sh*tty soap opera.
Starting with lead single 'Hey You' featuring a deep funky bass coupled with psychedelic glissandos left right and centre, all the way to a cassette tape outro of 'Hey Man, Don’t Look At Me Like That' this record is a journey. The layered atmosphere that engulfs the listener is a gorgeous reminder of the escapism that one experience in music. Angus Stone is no denier in dabbling in illicit substances, attributing the origin of his moniker to them. But whether he intends to or not; Dope Lemon is the closest thing one can get to an acid trip, without touching the drug.
Let go, and lose touch. Dope Lemon traverses worlds with his story of love. 'Lonely Boys Paradise' comes in as a shining diamond of the record. With a throbbing bass line that grounds an otherwise cloud-like tune, Stone is able to capture a moment of hope before giving up to despair. Loneliness being defeated by the excitement of someone new. It’s hopeful, it’s adventurous and it’s a heavily addictive tune.
'Dope & Smoke' slithers back to a familiar story. “We can go anywhere you wanna go baby… we can do anything you wanna do baby” which really takes us back into the Chateau realm of songwriting. A fleeting love away to whisk you away to on a spontaneous adventure. But similarly to the old school Angus covering his sibling’s penned tune, we see a Dope Lemon skin on these pop ideologies. Lending into that atmospheric meandering that has become the lemon’s signature twist, Stone’s so beautifully transforms a simple story of fleeting love into a layered piece of art.
Final song 'Hey Man, Don’t Look At Me Like That' brings us back to reality. It’s time to wake up again. You’re back on that porch. This time it’s just Angus, the Smooth Big Cat has wandered away. The lemon has seem to have stripped away, and Angus is back to his roots with a guitar and harmonica. It’s raw, it’s beautiful. He’s singing to you, Amy. You join in.
This whole album ties together beautifully in this one candid ballad between Stone and lover. It’s as if this whole album was written for this one character. Underlying each track is a bright beam of optimistic love. Melancholy can step aside, and let unconditional love take the spotlight. It’s summer fling, with hopeless romantic, meets high school sweetheart. It’s uplifting and heartwarming.
“If you love someone say it out loud,” is chanted in the outro and call this writer caught up in the warm-hearted follie from Stone’s blissful return, but let me be frank. I love you Dope Lemon and I love Smooth Big Cat.
Smooth Big Cat is out in the world today, go listen to it now!