The La's Review

artist: The La's date: 11/25/2006 category: compact discs
The La's: The La's
Release Date: 1990
Label: Umvd Import
Genres: Rock
Number Of Tracks: 12
The La's self titled debut is the brainchild of perfectionist frontman Lee Mavers whose unfulfilled potential is on full display here.
 Sound: 9.3
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 9.3
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overall: 9
The La's Reviewed by: lazyboat, on november 25, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Surely one of the most underated albums in the last 20 years? The La's self titled debut is the brainchild of perfectionist frontman Lee Mavers whose unfulfilled potential is on full display here. This draws on classic melodic pop/rock, warm acoustic guitar and beautiful harmonies which display new depths with each listen. This is where the real brilliance of this album lies, in it's simple, wistful, melodic odes that can go from uplifting raw rockers to melancholic takes on life and love, and they don't pretend to be anything else. Catchy hooks, brilliant melodies and all carried off with joyous bravado. Sounds like the blueprint for classic rock n roll, and it's all here. // 9

Lyrics: Lee Mavers had such a knack for catchy pop, as 'There She Goes' fully demonstrates with it's unbelieveably catchy melody and lyrical ode to heroin. But he had so much more depth as a songwriter, a song like 'Looking Glass' shows just how good he was at introspective, breathtaking conveying his emotions to the audience in a way few others can and earned him comparisons with a certain other famous Liverpudlian. On Occasion the lyrics take a back seat to the melody and pushes one of the strongest points of this album to the back, but when the lyric is emphasised the album comes alive and it's magnificent songwriting becomes clear. // 9

Overall Impression: This album influenced so many bands in the '90s, Oasis to name one, but never gets mentioned in best album polls and falls under the shadow of the monster hit 'There She Goes'. This is a great injustice to one of the finest albums of the '90s, harking back to an era when rock n roll was just raw guitar and bare emotion. If you get past the weight of the big single you'll discover an album of gems, undiminished by time, and up their with any other rock n roll album ever. The fact that this is their only release makes this album all the more special and it's vitally important for the sake of rock 'n' roll albums like this do not get forgotten. Brilliant, catchy and once heard never forgotten. // 9

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overall: 9
The La's Reviewed by: Richardetto, on february 09, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The thing that instantly struck me was the acoustic rawness of the album which encaptured a distinct skill and passion for writing songs without being reliant on a mass production job to iron out the rough patches. From the opening chords of Son Of A Gun, they pounce through 11 songs and barely break the 3 minute mark in any of them, yet they come fast and furious, each one refreshingly new and Mavers barking vocals compliment the rough edge that the band have trademarked. Then comes the final knock out blow with an 8 minute gem in the form of Looking Glass which see's you through a whirlwind build up to end with a hysteria of acoustic clattery and frenzied drumming. After 35 minutes of pure pop/rock bliss, it's increasingly upsetting to think that the band burned out in this way yet also seals their legacy. // 9

Lyrics: What better place to start than "There She Goes", about heroin or a girl? Regardless the venom of feelings which Mavers 'can't contain' are passionate, poetic and still hit a nerve in everybody's hearts. Often reflective, "Looking Glass" is the poetic brilliance on the album which outshines the rest and gives a chilling feeling inside the listener as Mavers delivers with elegance and compassion. // 9

Overall Impression: I won't starting throwing names around (Rolling Stones) but too often have we seen bands start off with a talent for songwriting and a passion for music, only to flail helplessly in to producing dirge over and over again. This self-titled album stands solitary as the only proof that The La's were under-appreciated by the world and that very few albums now manage to build up this kind of passion and produce these pop gems in to a mere 35 minutes, which is pure bliss from start to end. // 9

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overall: 9.7
The La's Reviewed by: illinoize88, on may 14, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The La's are one of the most mythical bands of the rock and roll era. It's the story of a man, his will, and his songs. This man is Lee Mavers. Lee Mavers joined the Liverpool band in the early 80s and within a couple of years had distinguished himself as a songwriter of considerable skill. Tunes from these early days include Doledrum and Way Out. Soon after, Mavers verged into the songwriting territory occupied by a select few with songs like Son of a Gun, Looking Glass, Timeless Melody, and the absolute classic There She Goes. The sound of the La's can be explained by taking mid-sixties British pop, along with a little Beefheart and Love, and throwing it into a blender. What you get is guitar pop at it's finest. It doesn't break any new musical ground, but that doesn't matter if it's done to perfection. Mavers has made no secret that he despises this album, mainly the sound of the record. In fact, halfway into these recording sessions (as well as in countless others) Mavers and his band walked out. Go! Discs, sick of Mavers' antics, told producer Steve Lillywhite to do the best he could with the available recordings. Remarkably, Lillywhite succeeds. And despite, Mavers' critiques, almost everyone else on the planet disagrees. // 10

Lyrics: Lee Mavers has publicly stated that he struggles with lyrics (and many of his unreleased songs have only a chorus and few verse lyrics) but on this record he does a very fine job. His lyrics are quite deep for being used in a collection of pop songs. On Son of a Gun, he sings of a man's insecurity with himself and with his past (If you want, I'll tell you a life story of a man who's at loggerheads with his past all the time, he's alive and living in purgatory.) On There She Goes, he sings of the that "untouchable" girl in every guy's life, and the effect this girl has on him. Whether Mavers' has the girl or not is left up to interpretation, but that is why the song is so loved and it's message so universal. (And I just can't contain, this feeling that remains.) Mavers' most impressive set of lyrics is Looking Glass-a seven minute expression of loneliness and uncertainty of one's life direction. Rumor is that Mavers wrote this on his birthday, during a reflective moment in his room by himself. Mavers voice truly shines on this track, especially during the verses. Not a ten because of the lyric in IOU "on the streets of knowledge, you must eat your porridge." // 9

Overall Impression: This is one of the essential albums of post-sixties guitar pop. It is very similar to Rubber Soul by the Beatles (the love songs and introspection) and Mod-era Who (the rockers). The most impressive song on the album is obviously There She Goes, a song which everyone has heard, even if they don't know it. However, there are many other gems on the record. Son of a gun is a very melodic song that is just simply hypnotic. I Can't Sleep could easily be mistaken for a Who single circa 1965. Timeless Melody lives up to it's brash name and delivers guitar pop nirvana. Feelin' is a rush and always puts a smile on my face. Looking glass, a seven minute epic, truly takes the cake though. One of the most underrated tracks in the history of popular music, it starts with a lonely guitar figure and an echoing Mavers vocal and slowly builds into a feverish climax during the last minute. Spectacular. I absolutely cherish this album. It's a shame that Mavers and company have not released another album, but at least they left us this record to treasure. A true classic. // 10

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