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The Lemon of Pink (Remastered)

The Books

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Album Review

Like 2002's Thought for Food, The Lemon of Pink combines experimental collage technique with an organic, folky mixture of banjo, guitar, violin, simple vocal melodies, and snippets of conversation. The collage technique snaps like that of the United States of America, but is used to introduce glitches in the melodic elements, whereas the U.S.A. attempted to subvert the tradition of the pop form. The title track's straightforward, melancholic phrasing and subtle string accompaniment are not unlike Cat Power's work with the Dirty Three, mostly due to Anne Doerner's lovely vocals, or the more ambitiously pop elements of Chicago post-rock. The song sprawls into a low-intensity instrumental collage where silence and elements of timbre cut through the melody to create glitches in an otherwise tranquil environment. The sample for sample's sake kitsch that has dragged down quite a few artists is not a problem here — wonderfully wrought clips like the welcoming voice on "Tokyo" make the rhythm of speaking into a fetish, toying with it, breaking it, and building it back. This is also used, less effectively, on tracks like "Take Time," where a simple phrase becomes an unphased minimalist backdrop for experimentation. It isn't often that one finds an American artist with such a mastery of collage technique and a desire to incorporate traditional folk instruments and melodies. Like the Notwist or Badly Drawn Boy, the Books open up territory for relaxed electro-acoustic listening without compromising their creative process. A lovely recording sure to find its way onto many a Top Ten list for 2003.

Customer Reviews

Giddy up.

This is easily one of the strangest, most beautiful albums I've ever been fortunate enough to stumble upon. I can't help but say, "This is your mind on drugs." Just listen to "Bonanza" and "Explanation Mark," two little ditties of nothing but senseless murmuring. Or are they? Each and every song on "The Lemon of Pink" is gorgeously-arranged. Elements of trippy folk, oscillating electronica, and random vocal phrases coagulate to form an auditory experience the likes of which I've never known. "Tokyo" is my favorite tune on here. The babbling mandolin and pulsating background textures unlock a brand-new quadrant of my brain every time I listen to it. "The Lemon of Pink II" is a work of acoustic genius. I can only compare it to Bibio's "Vignetting the Compost." If you've been desiring another level of consciousness altogether because your current one seems rather inadequate, then this is undoubtedly the album for you, my fickle friend. Ciao.

The joy of sound

Unexpected, beautiful, a celebration of sound. The Books melds together some killer instrumentals, along with creative and humorous sampling of the spoken word, into an utterly unique sound. Rhythmic, emotional, oddly uplifting.


nice & clean


Formed: 2000 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The Books' story began in 2000, when Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong met through a friend in New York City. Sharing similar interests but different backgrounds in acoustic music and found sound, Zammuto and de Jong experimented and plunked away with a mix of melody, electronics, and ethereal atmospherics. Eventually, with some urging by Tom Steinle of Tomlab Records, they created what would become their debut record, Thought for Food, in 2002. Within a year, the Books relocated to Hot Springs, NC,...
Full Bio

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