THE LEMONHEADS: It’s A Shame About Ray (Collector’s Edition) [Rhino]

Garnering gold-record status in the U.S. and even greater sales overseas, It’s A Shame About Ray has nevertheless failed to achieve hallmark status within the ’90s alt-rock canon. Though time has not proven kind to Evan Dando’s musical legacy, this re-examination of Ray might be the first step toward changing that. Released in 1992, a year dominated by grunge behemoths such as Alice In Chains’ Dirt and Stone Temple Pilots’ Core, a Lemon-heads album was an unlikely addition to the modern-rock playlist. Success came via a goofy cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson,” a bonus track tacked onto later pressings of Ray after it became a fluke hit single. Ray is more notable for its title track (co-written by Tom Morgan of Australian band Smudge) and “Allison’s Starting To Happen” (a charming ode to pubescent girls). If all this hoopla from a former Winona boy toy now seems antiquated, Ray still sounds remarkably fresh, retaining its bouncy, subdued edge with a sense of humor the Lemonheads’ peers painfully lacked. Bonus Material: B-side “Shaky Ground” and nine Ray demos. A DVD, its contents originally found on 1993 VHS collection Two Weeks In Australia, harkens back to a time when 13-song albums could spawn eight music videos, including one featuring a Johnny Depp cameo. []

—Matt Siblo