maandag 3 november 2014

Worship the sun. Allah-Las

Debut album 'Allah-Las' was reviewed on this blog by Erwin Zijleman in 2012 ( I never got around to reviewing the album myself, it never appealed enough to me to bother. Not original enough, not enough fun and a bit darkish.

Worship the sun, Allah-Las new album, is not original enough, not an extreme lot of fun and certainly it has this gloom over it. Besides that, it is a lesson or practice in style and, to be exact, the pop as played on the West Coast of the U.S. (and Holland for that matter) without the youthful exuberance most bands shared with fellow youths in 1966 and 1967. And still it seems that I truly like Worship the sun. Oh, this album is no 10, but is well made, with some great recognisable sounds and has all that made The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane, mark 1 and The Outsiders work. Wally Tax can even lie contentedly in his grave or urn. Miles Michaud manages to lay down all the right, slightly bored tones into his voice. The difference is "the rocking the boat of the previous generation kind of sneer" in Tax's voice is totally missing in "the nothing left to rebel against" voice of Michaud. Just like lead guitarist Pedrum Siadatian manages to capture all the right sounds in his guitar. That high end sound that is so typical for this time in rock, just before big amplification and stomp boxes broke big.

Worship the sun even goes one step further. There are are several instrumentals on the album also, in which the band tries to recreate those terrible or rather strange disco sort of songs of the 60s, organ/piano and all, which were played instead of famous songs in movies, with people dancing to them. Famous songs usually weren't around in movies in those days. Product placement was not yet a staple for the recording industry. Enough income was made then to be able to remain exclusive, I guess.

It is all well done, but why does Worship the sun sound like the band members have taken drugs, but are certainly dulled by it. No mind expansion here, more mind implosion. That is a question that bothers me a bit listening to Worship the sun. The songs on offer make me turn to the right side of my review accountability, but it does take away from the overall view. Allah-Las are dangerously close to copying a sound without showing any commitment to or joy in what they do.

Luckily there are songs like 'Buffalo nickel' that set things straight. The Monkees meets The Velvet Underground believe it or not, with Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitar. Now that is an interesting mix!

So the question is: what's next in the Allah-Las universe? Cream meets Engelbert Humperdick? Or Led Zeppelin with Jacques Dutronc as singer? We will have to wait and see circa 2016 to find out. Despite some critique, Worship the sun is a step forward as far as I'm concerned. Allah-Las is not there as one of my current favourite bands but certainly made a step in the right direction.


You can listen to 'Buffalo nickel' here:

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