In my opinion, this debut LP from Los Angeles' Allah-Las could have been titled The Fabulous Greatest Hits of the Allah-Las. Oh, sure, there is the tricky technical point that this is their first LP and only a few of the songs have been released previously, but when you nail it like these boys have, one feels obligated to reach into the superlatives reservoir. The capsule summary is that this record is a collection of note-perfect California surf/psych and British invasion with a modern, soulful groove. One could wonder whether it was concocted in a laboratory by mad musical geniuses funded by a major label. But the facts are more organic and inspiring -- these songs are the product of four guys who met working in the back room of LA's Amoeba Records and whose job exposed them to stacks of old vinyl and CDs. Their public journey as a band began in 2008, and their first record was the two song Catamaran/Long Journey. The latter song ends the new LP, while the jaunty "Catamaran" is the opener.
"Catamaran", with footage from a year ago trip to Seattle --
And while both of those early songs hold up as showcase tunes, the space in between is an absolute delight. You can thrill to the Byrdsian jangle of "Vis-A-Vis", groove to the psychedelia of "Busman's Holiday" and "No Voodoo" or dance to the British Invasion styled "Don't You Forget It" or "Catalina". The album even includes two instrumentals -- the surf rock of "Sacred Sands" and the Latin romp of "Ela Navega". One of the true standout tracks is the psychedelic "Tell Me (What's On Your Mind)".
My favorite quote about these guys probably is "the way their music makes me feel is one of the principal reasons I listen to music." However, since I wrote that on this blog in late June, I'd probably breach some internet ethics rule dwelling on it, so we will speak no more about it.
The Allah-Las are Miles, Pendrum, Spencer, and Matt. Allah-Las is out today on the Innovative Leisure label, and it has Rocksteady74's highest level endorsement. This will be of my top ten albums for the year.
We'll close the musical portion of the review as the album closes, with "Long Journey" --
Allah-Las are touring in support of the album. Their tour partner is R&B old soul, and the producer of their album, Nick Waterhouse. WYMA unreservedly recommends both acts.
Twitter ( @AllahLas )