Review Summary: Laruso puts on a generally accurate Fightstar disguise and comes away with an album loaded with potential.
One day I was on Fightstar’s Myspace page, and looking to the band’s top friends, I discovered a band by the name of Laruso. Apparently this band was a tour mate of the increasing popular Fightstar. After one listen to this band’s debut album, it is all but obvious as to where the majority of the musical influences for this band’s sound come from. Laruso’s sound is best described as a poppy punk/rock mix that carries a striking vocal similarity to that of Fightstar’s own, Charlie Simpson; seriously though, just give one listen to this band and you will find it’s hard to tell a difference between the two vocalists. The band has been around since 2003, and A Classic Case of Cause and Effect
is the band’s 2009 sophomore album.
If anything, this record bleeds with potential. Though almost a complete replica of the aforementioned Charlie Simpson, Liv Puente does a fantastic job leading the catchy melodies of the songs, adding a few screamed moments for added passion. Guitarists Carl Bown and Daniel Smith prove to be quite effective in their roles as well. “Cause & Effect” is a prime example of the duo’s work whereas a conventional song structure and a pleasing melody leads into an all-out jam with fairly technical bits that go a long way in displaying the boys' talent.
Most of the music here follows the familiar verse-chorus-verse structure, and as it turns out, some songs work better than others. The band starts out strong and energetic with the first three tracks; each song presents a likable hook with a set of lyrics that stretch across the many dimensions of a relationship with a few sarcastic touches along the way. The chorus of “Plan Paper Napkins” begs listeners to join in on the second time around: ”Just wanted to say, it’s better this way; it’s nothing special; it stays in so bio-mechanical”
. This song could easily become the “hit” of the record and just so happens to already be a fan-favorite during concerts.
The rest of the record is a bit of a hit and miss affair - albeit, it's worth mentioning that nothing completely misses
the mark. “Control is a Technicality” suffers from a recycled melody, and “Never Too Late” suffers from a forced delivery and a generic set of lyrics. The other songs are generally spot-on and pleasing – if not a bit too subtle for most listeners. The band displays a promising amount of song writing potential, and as far as instruments go, the band is more than competent in terms of the pop punk/rock genre.
Listening to this album brings back memories of Fightstar’s debut EP, They Liked You Better When You Were Dead
. Laruso has a bunch of potential, yet something is missing from within the mix. Liv’s performance resembles Charlie’s a bit too much, and if listened to back-to-back, listeners could easily mistake one band for the other. Also, the songwriting here is a bit blotchy in spots and as a result, turns out to be somewhat forgettable as well. Still, A Classic Case of Cause and Effect
is the beginnings of what could be a band that could very well stand up next to Fightstar in the coming years if all goes according to plan. From here, it looks as if Laruso have a promising future ahead of them.