Friday, June 23, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 17:-The La's - The La's

Album - The La's
Artist - The La's
Key Players - Lee Mavers (vocals) John Power (bass). The band had a string of guitar players and drummers, even for this release.
Produced by - Steve Lillywhite
Release Date - June 1990

Overview - The La's were (are?) a Liverpool based pop band that formed in the mid/late 1980's with a run that ran to the early 90's. Original member Mike Badger formed the earliest version of the band in 1983 and said that the band name came to him in a dream. Lee Mavers joined in 1984 as rhythm guitarist but soon took over as the main song writer as well as "leader" of the band. John Power joined the band in 1987 after he met Badger. Badger actually had left the band in late 1986. Badger cited musical differences and also animosity as Mavers was taking over the spotlight. For over two years the band worked on a record. They recorded and re-recorded the album, all the while changing members. In 1989 the band seemed to solidify with Neil Mavers (Lee's brother) as drummer and Peter "Cammy" Camell as the lead guitar player. In the press they were viewed as strong and confident yet in the studio in December of 1989 another attempt was made to make the record. Nothing seemed to please Mavers...ever. The band actually gave up recording the record leaving the producer, Steve Lillywhite, the task of putting it all together. Mavers was unhappy with this whole process. In 1990 the album was finally released much to the bands objections. Mavers was quoted as saying "It is shit..I hate it". The band never had massive popular appeal but the press loved them. In 1992 bassist John Power frustrated with playing the same set of songs since 1986 left the group. Mavers has vowed to never record any new material until after this first round is re-done to his satisfaction. Now all but considered a recluse Mavers is rumored to be working on things "at home". The band did play a few low key shows w/random members in 1994 and 1995. Mavers claimed that was only done to re-coup funds on merchandising debt from their 91 US tour. The band also played a few festivals and a short tour of Japan in 2005.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - Son of a Gun starts off the record with a strumming acoustic and a strong "skiffle" feel. The easiest way to describe this "feel" is brushes on the small drum kit and some very simplistic guitar, all in its element. I Can't Sleep has a tad more of the rocking brit pop feel. The recording engineer boosted the floor tom down beat fill which is just great, your head gets a great "boom" from it. Using a terrific call and response chorus as well this is one of the stand out tracks. Timeless Melody was released as a single and its easy to see why. Simple yet elegant lyrics, a toe tapping rhythm and a chorus encouraging you to "open your mind". "Liberty Ship" also has that skiffle feel. This is the type of song you'd hear in a dark, yet cool quiet bar in London. It could be used in virtually and bar scene for a film or television. At this point you have had less than 7 minutes of music. "There She Goes" is next. If there were a song that would be their "hit" here in the USA it would be this very one. The song has been used in commercials, films such as So I Married and Ax Murder, Fever Pitch and the Disney remake of the Parent Trap. Sixpence None the Richer did a cover that got a lot of radio play and its often seen as a strong empowering song to women, but its about heroin addiction. Still, to this day, in my humble opinion its one of the top 5 songs of the 90's and probably a top 10 favorite song of mine all time. When I went back to listen to this cd for the review I'd hit repeat at least twice on this song. During the song "Way Out" there could be a foreshadowing line of lyrics
Bid me one last wish
Before I walk out of this
Give me the hammer to shatter the dream
To get away out of this.

During I.O.U somehow the band is able to rhyme knowledge with porridge. I am sure it has to do with the heavy accents Lee sings in.

Looking Glass closes out the record. Its the longest song on the record clocking over 7 minutes. The next closest song runs at 3:01. Looking Glass reminds you a little of a Pink Floyd track. Single voice along with a heavily plucked acoustic guitar. The song slowly builds, vocals are put on a looping delay, the drums speed up and the guitars start to really fly.

Where are they now? Mavers still continues to work on music, but doesn't seem to like the press much. Powers after leaving the band performed with the band Cast, which broke up after 4 records, then he released a solo record and then played on the La's tour in 2005.

FDF Personal Comments - I never saw the band live. It was probably hard for the band to tour in general with the band being such perfectionists. I am able to enjoy them thru some pretty decent audience recorded shows.

FDF Overall take - There are so many records I could cover from this time. The Ocean Blue, Something Happens, The Stone Roses, EMF, Lush you name it. It was such a great time for music for me personally. So many records bring me back to these days it is just so hard to choose. Regarding the La's nobody has a problem with the record, and we want to hear what else you have in you! This is one record you'd not be embarrassed to have in your collection.


At 1:38 PM, Blogger Road to the Isles said...

Great review! The original "There She Goes" is an incredible tune and still brings back loads of college memories...

At 9:44 PM, Blogger pog mo thoin said...

I am glad you told me that "There she goes" was about heroine because if it was about girl, it could have been up for an award for gummiest bubblegum lyrics on Sucky CD Sunday. It does bring back good memories for me too but mostly of the opening shot in San Fran for "So I married an axe murderer" which was great Mike Myers before he was Wayne or Austin.


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