Wednesday, September 17, 2014

REVIEW: Allah Las - Worship the Sun

On their 2012 self-titled debut LP, the Allah Las blended garage rock, folk rock, country, surf and a bit of Britpop and Latin rhythms into a magical brew of mid-tempo, minor key nuggets that resonated with me, and it appears with a large number of other musical fans.  Two years down the road brings the band's sophomore release, Worship the Sun.  For this outing there is no shift in templates.  Rather, the band simply has focused on getting better at what they do well.  And even better they are.  Worship the Sun yields no ground to the excellence of their 2012 debut and, in my view, is a better and more varied set of songs.

There is no doubt that Miles Michaud (guitar, lead vocals), Matthew Correia (drums, vocals), Pedrum Siadatian (lead guitar, vocals), and Spencer Dunham (bass, vocals) are apt students of pop music.  One only need listen -- as I do faithfully every Wednesday -- to the weekly mix that they and their friends assemble under the name Reverberation Radio (link) to know that these guys have a depth of influences that no ordinary musician's record collection could hope to replicate.  But having a good ear doesn't necessarily lead to the creation of good music (I type as I nod knowingly to my reflection in the beer glass at my elbow).  What Allah Las do so well includes both more obvious musical touches, and some less tangible qualities.  As for the former, with four voices allowing soaring harmonies supporting the lead vocals, and no weak spots in the instrumental line up, the foundation is rock solid.  Moreover, the songwriting is tight, and has that wonderful quality of appearing effortless, despite the likelihood that it all was hard work following the inspiration.  For the less tangible, one only need to listen to the album to feel the hint of an ocean breeze, the desert sand under your boots, the warmth of the sun on your face, the thrill of hooking up and the joint pain and freedom of breaking up.  And in evoking such feeling, they also evoke a sense of place.  Worship the Sun is not only of Southern California, it represents Southern California.

The songs remain solidly mid-tempo and mostly minor key, but there is ample variety.  Britpop style garage on "Recurring",  a '60s nugget via standout track "I Have It All", hazy mid-century pop on the title track, psychedelia on "Nothing to Hide" and "501-405", a couple of surfy instrumentals, and crunchy country rock on "Buffalo Nickel" and "Better Than Mine".  While most of the recording and production was handled by labelmate Nick Waterhouse, one of the best tracks is the self-recorded and sun kissed "Artifact", which with repeated listens currently heads my list of best tracks.

The vinyl record has twelve tracks, while the digital and CD versions include two bonus tracks, including "Every Girl" --

To sample two more tracks check out the official video for "Follow You Down" and the live version of "Had It All" from Mello Johnny's Bike Shop at SXSW in March 2014.  You can stream the entire album at the Bandcamp link below.

Finally, our European readers should take note that Allah Las are invading next week.  The dates, cities and venues are below.

Bandcamp for Worship the Sun
Innovative Leisure

European Tour Dates
Sep 21 - Brighton, UK - The Haunt
Sep 22 - Nottingham, UK - Bodega
Sep 24 - London, UK - Oval Space
Sep 26 - Liverpool, UK - Psych Fest  @ Camp
Sep 28 - Dublin, IRE - Workmans Club
Sep 29 - Glasgow, UK - Broadcast
Sep 30 - Edinburgh, UK - Electric Circus
Oct 2 - Sheffeild, UK - The Harley
Oct 3 - Birmingham, UK - Hare & Hounds
Oct 4 - Bristol, UK - Start The Bus
Oct 7 - Paris, FR - Badaboum
Oct 9 - Amsterdam, NL - Tolhuisuin
Oct 10 - Brussels, BE - Orangerie @ Botanique
Oct 11 - Luxembourg, LX - CarreRotondes
Oct 13 - Cologne, GER - Underground
Oct 14 - Hamburg, GER - Mojo
Oct 15 - Berlin, GER - C-Club
Oct 17 - Munich, GER - Atomic Cafe
Oct 18 - Wiesbaden, GER - Schachthof
Oct 20 - Zurich, CH - Kinski
Oct 21 - Mezzago, ITA - Bloom
Oct 24 - Barcelona, SPA - Sala Apolo
Oct 25 - Madrid, SPA - Sala El Sol
Oct 26 - Bilbao, SPA - 
Oct 31 - Thessaloniki, GR - Principal Club
Nov 1 - Athens, GR - Fuzz Club

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