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LA'S (Buy CDs by this artist)
The La's (UK Go! Discs) 1990 (Go! Discs/London) 1991
CAST
All Change (Polydor) 1996

Unlike other Britpop groups emerging around the same time, The La's took cues from '60s beat, rather than psychedelia, new wave or punk. On its lone album, the distinctive Liverpool quartet — which favored acoustic guitars and folky harmonies but delivered taut electric rock as well — echoes groups like the Hollies, Searchers and Beatles. Lee Mavers writes profoundly tuneful songs with thoughtful words and sings them with a skilled mixture of pop allure ("There She Goes" is an absolute gem) and pub-band sturdiness ("Failure" is an odd bit of garage punk). Beyond melodic assets, the La's make good, independent-minded use of rhythm as well. "Liberty Ship" has the seafaring tempo to match its lyrical metaphor, while "Way Out" pairs a measured drum/rhythm-guitar beat with double-time lead figures; "Freedom Song" uses the oompah swing of a Kurt Weill number. But that was all the troubled band could manage. Mavers has since made himself scarce, although "There She Goes" regularly pops up on movie soundtracks to convey the exhilaration of young love.

[Ira Robbins/Gary Graff]