ARTIST: The La’s
TITLE: The La’s
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: #196 US, #30 UK
SINGLES: Way Out (#86 UK), There She Goes (#49 US, #2 US Modern Rock, #13 UK), Timeless Melody (#12 US Modern Rock, #57 UK), Feelin’ (#43)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt it,
LINEUP: Lee Mavers, John Power, Pete Camell, Neil Mavers (for all but two tracks – more below)
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Great Brit pop, power pop, rootsy pop album that was anachronistic for the time in the UK (hearkening back to the 60’s Beat groups for starts, not the Madchester scene).
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There have been 24 members of the La’s at one point or another in their history – and they’re a four piece band that have released one official album and some singles and BBC Sessions.
They were signed in 1987, released their first singles in 1988, but took until 1990 until the album came out, and it was almost immediately repudiated by the band. By that VERSION of the band, since they changed guitarists and drummers twice from the beginning of the recording of the singles to the end of the album sessions.
Lee Mavers has been ‘working’ on another La’s album since 1991 or so. Crickets have emerged.
The La’s are a great band that lost their opportunity due to perfectionism that made Brian Wilson seem like he was doing hits+filler every time. They went through eight producers, from my count, and STILL hated the sound of the album that was released (which sounds fine to my ears.)
I don’t know what’s so hard about getting this sound. It’s really just simple pop / rock with acoustic and electric guitars, bass and drums. “There She Goes” is absolutely a timeless song – probably best known over here by the pretty vanilla (I mean REALLY vanilla) cover by Sixpence None the Richer.
Anyway, this is a pretty good album. Don’t know why it’s considered the BEST EVER by some, or why it was so precious to produce to begin with. Just get it and listen to it.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: There was one rumor in the UK press that this was a song about heroin, of all things. That sounds daft. Bollocks, said the guitarist.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a whole other damn record by another producer (Mike Hedges in place of Steve Lillywhite and Mark Wallis – and Bob Andrews on “There She Goes”) and live cuts and BBC sessions.
GRADE: A-: It’s good. The songs are good. The playing and arrangements are good. Buy this – but remember that it’s not all that. I think the grades have been inflated due to scarcity of other material.