• Record Label: The End
  • Release Date: Jun 23, 2009
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. With a little luck, this collection of mostly obscure covers could, on a smaller scale, do for Dando what the Rick Rubin-helmed American Recordings did for Johnny Cash.
  2. This sense of adventure ties Varshons to those earliest Lemonheads records, but the group marries that spirit to Dando's exceptionally intuitive interpretive skills, turning the album into a bit of a rough, unpolished gem.
  3. Dando’s at it again, with a whole album full of mix-and-match covers which comfortably sit just on the right side of bizarre.
  4. Dando misfires when songs don't suit him--Wire's 'Fragile' loses its tension--but this is worth an hour of anybody's time.
  5. Whether tackling Broadway showtunes or John Prine, or Simon and Garfunkel, the laconic alt-rocker nimbly transforms songs until they sound like they could be his own. That pixie dust extends to Varshons.
  6. Varshons is an admirable stopgap that proves that there is life in the old dog yet.
  7. This is no standards collection and Dando isn’t singing the hits. The album is instead a sort of late-career triumph for the Lemonheads.
  8. 70
    Though it's no breakthrough, Varsons serves as a nice holdover until the new set of material we've been promised. [Summer 2009, p.100]
  9. 60
    For the most part, Varshons is pleasantly predictable, with celebrity cameos (Kate Moss, Liv Tyler) and selections from legendary rakes Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt that practically qualify as typecasting. But the countrified take on GG Allin's 'Layin' Up with Linda' provides a moment of effective shock value, and improbable redemption arrives with the closing track: Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful.'
  10. 60
    At best, Varshons is a joy forever. Even at worst, it’s a forgiveable, even likeable, labour of love.
  11. 60
    Its choice of selections successfully reinvent the familiar and/or introduce the less well-known. [Jul 2009, p.104]
  12. Dando fucks Varshons up just enough to stop it being an actively great covers record--in recent terms The Condo Fucks’ mighty "Fuckbook" stomps over it--but not enough to detract from the truth that the thread drawing the successful songs together is the still-beating talent of Evan Dando, non-dickhead version.
  13. It helps to pick the right tune and Dando has good taste, judging Gram Parsons ('I Just Can't Take It Anymore'), Wire ('Fragile') and Townes Van Zandt ('Waiting Around To Die') to be worthy of homage. But that's all this album is, really. Homage.
  14. Overall, there is sufficient sun-kissed pleasure on Varshons to extend the patience of Evan Dando-devotees a little bit longer but not enough to surpass past makeover masterstrokes.
  15. Patchy covers album from alt.rock veterans.
  16. Varshons succeeds thanks to an inspired breadth of material. [Jul 2009, p.125]
  17. It’s great to see the notoriously troubled Dando lighten up and give fans a taste of what he enjoys, but it’ll be better when he can convert that personal passion into something original and enduring.
  18. The depth and breadth of the tracklist are commendable but often work against the band.
  19. This is the real key to understanding Varshon: it can’t be a truly cynical attempt to recapture former glory because it’s too half-assed.

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