Ramona & the Sometimes is a five-piece pop rock band with sunny melodies and clever lyricism performing at Iowa City’s Mission Creek Festival. Behind the band are multimedia artists Ramona and Derek Muse Lambert, who perform vocals and drums respectively. They met touring with the band Leslie and the Lys. Ramona creates colorful, poppy visual arts such as prints and T-shirts. More hand-illustrated works are available on Ramona’s website (Ramona Muse Lambert).
Their 2017 album, Negative Space is a Positive Thing, has playful elements usually heard in children’s songs, notably upbeat choruses, and instrumentation that ranges from the organ to the slide whistle. The album focuses on togetherness and creativity, notably in their song Where Ya Been. The song has punchy drums and a cheerful, refreshing acapella chorus that showcases the group’s melodic chemistry. It is one of the songs about their son who contributed vocals to this album. The music video, using a split screen effect that makes the video visually striking, features a choreographic dance by women with bright shirts and colorful hats, including Ramona in a series of vibrant outfits.
A dense drumbeat drives the song Lung Sandwich combined with Ramona’s bright, vibrant vocals about having a literal lung sandwich. The bass and guitars strum an energetic groove in Negative Space, an anthem about creativity’s positive influences. Plant Mom features a driving rhythm and its lyrics are intertwined with lush imagery of gardening. An organ track rings through Roll Me Over, a song about feeling overwhelmed.
Their next album Did I Miss it? Is it Over? releases April 30th, 2022. Ramona & the Sometimes plays at 7:15 pm, Saturday, April 9th, at the Riverside Theater. Mission Creek festival passes are available for purchase through their website.