Pretend you've never heard of Evan Dando and try to forget that -- despite the "Hate Your Friends" reference of the cover art -- the Lemonheads delivered some fine sloppy pop-punk in their early days. (You're not gonna need to pretend that you've never heard Gram Parsons, so don't worry.) Imagine that "Baby I'm Bored" is the debut album from some slightly nutty desert rat with an acoustic guitar and not much else. If you can perform those mental calisthenics, then this album will ultimately be quite rewarding. Straightforward and somewhat sad, the dozen songs are warm and intimate, and Dando's songwriting is in good shape. He declines to over-embellish the material or revert to cutesy lyrical tricks, and those decisions pay off. A few tracks like "It Looks Like You" fall flat in their attempt to revisit Dando's earlier work (What earlier work, right? Right.), but the fuzzy melancholy of "Rancho Santa Fe" and "All My Life"'s stuck-in-my-room introspection more than makes up for such missteps.
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