Spirit Phone, Lemon Demon

Spirit Phone, Lemon Demon

Dashiell Takeuchi, Staff Writer

The album Spirit Phone was released in 2016, by musician Neil Ciceriga under his band Lemon Demon. It was first released digitally through the website Bandcamp, eventually getting a physical release in 2018 under Needlejuice Records.

The songs on Spirit Phone are all interestingly strange, with such topics as Michael Jackson being brought back from the dead and a behavioral phenomenon found in army ants. The album’s sound is nice to listen to, as it has a synth-heavy, pop-ish thing going on, with Ciceriga’s voice echoed digitally. Perhaps the most atypical of the songs on the album is “Reaganomics”, which is distinguished by its heavy sampling of speeches from former US President Ronald Reagan.

“Cabinet Man” is probably the most narrative song on the album, telling the story of a man who is transformed into an arcade machine. Once people start playing him, he quickly becomes extremely popular and finds joy in his new life. 

However, as arcades are made obsolete by the rise of home video game consoles, he finds himself alone once more. The song ends with his presumed death at the hands of vandals, who break into the now-empty arcade and destroy him, only to discover his biological insides.

“Eighth Wonder” is another interesting song on the album. When I first heard it years ago, I thought it was all meaningless gibberish. However, after reading up on the album, I learned that it is actually based on a true story, in which an English family claimed to have befriended a talking mongoose named “Gef”. Many of the song’s lyrics are quotations from the supposedly intelligent animal, such as his claim that “if you see me, you’re paralyzed.”

“Touch-Tone Telephone” is the top Lemon Demon song on Spotify, and with good reason. It’s a bit catchy and certainly pleasant on the ears. Listening to it casually, it might seem like a love song,  but if you pay closer attention to the lyrics, then the actual narrative of the song is revealed. In reality, it’s about a conspiracy theorist calling someone, presumably the one person who actually listens to him, to rant about his own genius.

“Redesign Your Logo” is probably my favorite song on the album. Its beat is faster and stronger than most of the other songs featured here, and the monotone low voice, with which Ciceriga delivers the lyrics, adds a nice, eerie quality. 

Like many songs on the album, its lyrics are a reference to something in the real world. In this case, it’s about a document leaked online, detailing the reasoning behind the redesign of the Pepsi logo. The memo is notable for its strangeness, as it takes into account such features as the magnetic field of the earth.

These are just a few of the songs that make the album Spirit Phone so unique and memorable. I’d recommend that you give it a listen – the album can be found on Spotify, and it’s full of terrific songs. 

You might find yourself liking it a lot. I certainly did!