Released in 1998, the second and unfortunately final album by American shoegazers All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors, “Turning into Small” is a masterpiece of shoegaze, with an incredible psychedelic edge and incredibly degrees of creativity making it one of the most underrated shoegaze albums I’ve heard.
With a definite influence from the legendary My Bloody Valentine, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors play a very vibrant and bright type of Shoegaze, but with their own distinct style. With swirling guitars, and laid back almost indecipherable vocals ala Bilinda Butcher, the band’s influences are obvious from the outset, but they add influences from elsewhere including psychedelic rock and electronic music, and combine it all with their own creative and experimental outlook to produce a stunning album of psychedelic soundscapes, walls of distortion, and swirling guitar effects which take the listener on an extremely colourful trip.
“Your Imagination” is possibly the best piece of shoegaze I’ve ever heard. With psychedelic guitar melodies built around delicious swirls of distortion and powerful electronics, as well as beautiful vocals, it really builds a soundscape like no other. Taking a heavy does of psychedelia and mixing it with shogazey guitar effects, it’s absolutely magical, and trippy as hell. The resulting wall of noise is huge, swirly, distorted, messy and just beautiful. Colourful and vivid, these lemon and lime flavors seem far from natural, rather they are laced with powerful hallucinogenics. Puzzled into Pieces is another brilliant track, with more of an electronic basis, but with a healthy does of walls of distortion, swirly guitars and such seamless variation from one musical idea to the next, it’s absolutely awesome. “When Things Come Down” has an absolutely beautiful melody running through it, shiny and sparkly, mixed in with a wall of noise, and hazy, trippy vocals, while “In Between and After” is one of the most fantastic experimental music gems out there. “Snowflake eye” has beautiful strings (albeit synthesied) running through it, imbuing a sense of drama to another track, mixed with more swirly guitar effects. Throughout the album the band’s seamless mix of ideas, and immense levels of creativity hold the listener’s interest from start to finish, and with so much going on at all times you notice so much that’s new with every listen. Moving from soft dreamy melodies to messy walls of distortion, to sections of electronica, and most often all this and more at the same time, All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors are simply incredible, and their lack of success and relative obscurity is absolutely criminal for a band as talented and imaginative as them. It might be blasphemous to most Shoegaze fans to say it, but it may even be better than My Bloody Valentine’s 1991 album Loveless, almost unanimously described as the pinnacle of the genre.
This album is for anyone who enjoys My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver, but wants an extra dose of sweet sounding psychedelia, and it is sure to take you on a trip through guitar swirls and colourful soundscapes, it really is a very visual album. For any shoegaze fan who’s sick of band after band aping the Loveless sound with a lack of originality or spark, make sure to listen to this incredibly inventive album. If we’re lucky, perhaps with the recent reunions of Shoegazers Slowdive, and the eventual album release last year of My Bloody Valentine’s follow up to Loveless after a 22 year gap, we might even see a reunion of this fantastic band in the near future. Let’s hope so!
Make sure to give a listen to the masterpiece “Your Imagination”