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Music for kids and their adults
Acoustic, Americana and Roots
Exploring the musical legacy of Prince and beyond
On sale Tuesday, August 13, 2019, 12:00 AM
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for” the saying goes. But suppose the proverbial harbor is Los Angeles — a place not particularly known for being the origin of adventures. From the Spanish Conquistadors to the countless starry-eyed nobodies hoping to make it big, LA is usually the destination. So it’s no wonder the Allah Las became fascinated with both the carefree spirit and glitter-in-the-gutter lifestyle of their hometown. After three records mining its lore and lure (from the desert to the sea) they have become global ambassadors of not just a place but a location.
Having taken their compact California on the road across the world (making stops in North, Central, and South America, Europe, South Africa, Australia, Russia, East Asia and beyond), they couldn’t help but peek through the other end of the telescope. On their fourth LP, drummer Matt Correia, bassist Spencer Dunham, and guitarists Miles Michaud and Pedrum Siadatian turn their collective gaze outward and toward the horizon. Simply titled LAHS (a reference to a common misspelling of the band’s name), their forthcoming release on Mexican Summer finds the band turning in their most cohesive and ambitious work yet.
The Allah Las seem to be transmitting from a place not found on any map. Those familiar with the band’s work will recognize their skillful melding of melodies and moods, but through that lens we see them venturing into new, exciting territories. Indeed, their growth not just as songwriters, but as performers, arrangers, and producers — is clearly audible.
Correia croons in Portuguese on “Prazer Em Te Conhecer” (Nice to Meet You), which evokes George Harrison while also sounding like a rare 45 from a Brazilian flea market. The breezy sweetness of “Pleasure” could pass for a song by Spanish folk darlings Picnic, were it not for the wistful wisdom in Dunham’s delivery. “Polar Onion” takes us through the inevitable lows one encounters on a long journey, as Michaud laments “drown in the sea, I fill my cup – but it’s not enough”– a caricature of the lonesome cowboy seeking and occasionally glimpsing enlightenment.
One of the most notable evolutions from their previous work is a razor-sharp focus on the groove. We hear the rhythms of Krautrock influencing songs like “Houston” and “Electricity,” with steady and precise drumming that create complexity from repetition. Whilst both “Roco Ono” and “Star” incorporate elements of disco and soul into Allah Las universe, highlighting an airtight rhythm section unafraid to tap their toes. This is an 18+ show.