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""Weight of the World" Review by Thomas Mitchell"

Two years ago, I used to listen obsessively to an internet radio station called “Soul 24-7.” It was beamed out of London and featured nearly the entire spectrum of R&B music—from Ashford & Simpson to Zapp. During this intense period of listening, I heard plenty of up-tempo, groove-laden music. It was the kind of sound I never sought out because I only heard it in the wrong context (car commercial, trendy bar, etc.) But when I heard these songs side by side with more recognized soul classics, I was blown away. What was this forgotten R&B sound. Was it “house”? Was it simply “dance music”? Was it, on no, “disco”?!?!?!?

No, it was soul music just like Marvin or Patti Labelle. And so is “Lemon.” Soul music crafted and spilled out passionately with minimal regard for R&B production “technique” du jour. (TR808 drums, anyone?) Lemon’s impeccably produced, carefully arranged, and flawlessly delivered sound may be a little glossy for deep soul aficionados. And their danceable rhythms achieved (in part) with electronic sequencer, synthesizer, and percussion tools may not immediately appeal to the Northern soul set. But Lemon’s clear reverence for the old-school R&B sounds keeps this record fresh, listenable, and relevant.

You soul purists may be wondering what prevents “Weight of the World” from becoming Rick Astley or Bee Gees-caliber pseudo-soul. How can a record with very little obvious improvisation be so affecting? In short, the arrangements are fly. There is no era-specific snobbery happening here. Unlike some of the throwback soul happening today, “Weight of the World” doesn’t myopically focus on the 70s sound. Lemon, get ready for this, also borrows from the 80s production handbook—and it works. Sure, you have the standard-issue syncopation, vocal flourishes, and wah guitar. But you also get carefully placed cut-time drum sequences, synth bass lines, and trebled-out guitar. Once again, it’s a matter of context. These techniques utilized in isolation create an empty, soul-less sound. But they shine when combined with the tried-and-true formula of great singing and solid songwriting. Lemon even takes the variety a step further with inventive (and unusual) instrumentation flavors—a conga part here, an electric slide guitar there. Great horn charts too. While I would have liked to hear some different effects used on Roger Smith’s vocals (instead of just the same reverb setting over and over), the man turns a melody with flair and precision. The instrumental/vocal blend is righteous. Disgruntled R&B fans take notice.
- Ear Candy Music Magazine (http://earcandy_mag.tripod.com/reviews27.htm)

""Weight of the World" Review by Laura Turner Lynch"

Weight of the World is the third release from the dynamic duo known as Lemon. They are joined by a number of other talented musicians who round out their sound with horns, bass and drum samples. Roger Smith is the singer and songwriter for the band. Thor Madsen is a Danish producer/arranger who also plays guitar and keyboards. Their sound is a hybrid of dance, jazz, pop, rock, soul and trance. Roger has a smooth, soulful voice likened to Marvin Gaye. Thor brings modern R & B stylings and contemporary production to this eleven-track collection. The lyrics are insightful and serious with a focus on melody. The arrangements are first rate on this original collection. The CD opens strong with 'Smile In Your Eyes', which combines subtle dance beats layered over rich, velvety vocals with keyboard accents. 'Hurt Inside' has an incredible hook line sung with pained passion. The beats and instrumentation are complex and well constructed adding depth to this personal song. 'Landslide' is a melancholy melody that melds unique sound effects for a textured tune. Weight of the World is heavy on quality vocals, instrumentation, production and lyrics, demonstrating that Lemon can make lemonade out of sour life topics! (USA/NY 2003)
• Recommended Tracks: (1,4,5)
- Kweevak.com Music Zine

""Weight of the World" by Alan Fark"

There seems to be a common cultural bias that white guys just can't sing R&B. As evidence to the contrary, just look to Phil Collins, Paul Carrack (Mike & the Mechanics) and David Pack (Ambrosia). Lemon represents the collaborative creative talents of singer Roger Smith and guitarist Thor Madsen, and Roger Smith's balmy and oh-so-smooth vocals again debunk the myth that you don't have to be black to summon up one incredibly soulful voice from deep inside. Madsen has done something equally interesting - he's placed acoustic guitar in a syncopated R&B context where one doesn't usually hear this instrument - check out "Weight of the World" and "Daydreams". - Minor 7th Magazine (http://www.minor7th.com/shorttakes10_04.html)

""Weight of the World" Review by NYROCK.com"

If you were to look at the picture on the liner, you'd think the music on the disc might be country, or perhaps instrumental layered like a wedding cake. Instead, you're greeted with a refreshing approach to soulful pop. Roger Smith's vocals are indeed soulful, and while he may not have the sheen of a Marvin Gaye or Al Green, he does embody the sounds of George Michael or Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) – vocalists who work with the music as music and not as vocal exercises. Complementing his delivery is Thor Madsen, who handles guitars, keys, and all the programming of the drum boxes, et al. The result is a pared-down sound, no extraneous guitar solos or belabored fills, more like a hip-hop soundtrack with vocals instead of rapping. And though I find it difficult to embrace techno, electronica, and hip hop, nevertheless I found myself drawn to this disc again and again. Why? Good question, and one I've been trying to answer. Perhaps it is the vocals, and the way that Smith attacks the lyrics. Perhaps it is the successful approach that Madsen took to the music and production. Maybe my mind is just becoming more accepting. All I can say is give it a listen at www.lemoncentral.com.
- http://www.nyrock.com/streetbeat/2004/0804.asp#nine

""Weight of the World" Review by C|NET"

"Roger Smith and Thor Madsen together don’t waste one note to impress, but fill every measure to resonate long after the listener powers off their player. With empowering lyrics about everyday life obstacles to enduring songs about love and happiness this duo certainly knows how to whisk any pop-soul rhythm into zesty smooth urban sauce." - http://music.download.com/lemon


CD - "Changing Into Me" Jul. 2005
CD - "Weight of the World" Nov. 2003
CD - "NUMB" Aug. 2002
CD - "Strangedays" Jan 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy


Combining the soulful ache of Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall with the sultry falsetto of Smokey Robinson, Lemon resurrects the plaintive longing and raw sexuality of vintage R&B with the synthesized rhythms of ‘80s modern rock.

A duo consisting of vocalist Roger Smith and multi-instrumentalist Thor Madsen, the New York-based Lemon generates body heat from their funky, sweltering grooves. The propulsive “Ain’t Coming Back” recalls Peter Gabriel in his mid-‘80s prime as Smith’s deeply emotional and urgent vocals fuel Madsen’s grinding keyboards while “One Night Stand” is reminiscent of Prince’s midnight eroticism.

Eschewing the discordant noise and basement production of ‘90s alternative rock, Lemon champion melody and clear, straightforward songwriting, utilizing modern technology to create evocative atmospherics with old-school pop hooks. If Motown had begun releasing albums in the 21st century, then Lemon would’ve been among their prime artists.

“The warmth of Smith's singing is complemented beautifully by Madsen's dreamy keyboard textures,” raved renowned U.K. music reviewer Adam Harrington.

Take a taste of Lemon now.

There is a particular moment in every artist's career when they arrive at a unique sound, where their creative output is confident in the messages it means to convey, and the tools it uses to deliver them. No matter how many influences or genres have served as blueprints in the past, something entirely new emerges. With the new album, "Changing Into Me", the voice of LEMON has emerged.

LEMON is the result of the pairing of New York vocalist and songwriter Roger Smith, and Danish production guru Thor Madsen. Together they have crafted a sound which evokes the legendary soul virtuosity of the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and the expansive sound of 70's Motown, laid over modern R&B production, and held together by mature, intelligent songcraft. "I'm a songwriter, and I pay obsessive attention to melody, form, arrangement and lyric," says Smith. "Production value is key, but like a movie with special effects masquerading as the plot, it can leave you emotionless, and it definitely won't guarantee longevity. This is what I love about great pop of the last 30 years, it sounds as relevant today as it did the day it was recorded."

Central to the duo's sound is the vocal prowess of Smith. "I grew up on a collection of artists and groups where great vocals were just par for the course. People like Mick Hucknall of Simply Red, or Freddy Mercury of Queen, or George Michael. These were people who could ply an audience's emotions with the finesse of their voices, and their vocal talent allowed them to do nearly any kind of material, or at least incorporate any kind of material. That's what makes it interesting to me." True to form, LEMON's material incorporates pop, soul, dance, jazz, and rock, into a hybrid which is at once artistically credible and infectious for radio.

"It's encouraging to see the extraordinary success of a Norah Jones, or a John Mayer. It tends to make me believe that melodic, song-based pop can find an audience, regardless of trend, or corporate radio's chokehold on what new music sees the light of day. Something that sounds beautiful and fills the soul is never pedestrian or out of style."

Lemon has been collecting songwriting awards for the past two years including Semi-Finalist in 2002 Songlounge.com for "Daydreams", Finalist in the Hard Rock
Cafe's "Road to Town Fair IV, a Nationwide contest in Philadelphia and a current contender in the first round of the 2003 Coca Cola New Music Award.

Roger Smith, vocalist and songwriter for the band Lemon, started his music career in Boston with a well-loved pop group, Frankly Scarlett (Frankly Scarlett performed in venues throughout Boston, Cambridge, and greater New England, including Avalon, Venus De Milo, TT the bears, The Rathskellar, Local 186, Toad, The Plough and Stars. They also played extensively throughout the college circuit including Boston University, Emerson, Tufts, Brandeis, and Boston College.

Smith relocated to New York in the summer of 1995 and fronted several New York bands in the ensuing years, releasing two CDs of material from those efforts. In early 1999, Smith teamed with producer/arranger/guitarist Thor Madsen, and from these collaborations, LEMON was born. In addition to the new release, "Changing Into Me", Lemon has released three volumes: The debut EP, "Strangedays", the sophomore effort, "NUMB", and their enthusiastically received last collection, "Weight of the World"

The members of LEMON have shared the stage with a far ranging collection of great artists including Morphine, Letters to Cleo, The Mighty Bosstones, and Wax Poetic to mention a few.