Review Summary: If you know what's good for you, then you'll know what you can do.
A band who locally are as revered as the Beatles, the La's have always been surrounded by an iridescent mythology that somehow manages to overshadow their music; an x-factor that without even hearing another track but the classic single, There She Goes, any Liverpudlian would gladly say are one of the best bands the city has produced. True enough, There She Goes is still a classic, a song that transcended the gritty and narrowly defined social barriers of the 80's that the band had set up around it, appearing in commercials, films and T.V. shows the world over, and one that for many people defined the early 90's, and still does.
In many ways though the single completely destroyed the band, and upon listening to their one and only album, it's not hard to see why; the single sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the grittier acoustic garage tracks the band preferred to the bittersweet sixties throwback pop of that infamous single. But despite this, the album doesn't feel uneven at all, quite the opposite.
It's important to understand the way the La's grew up, and lived. They were in Liverpool terms 'scallies', young lads who drank, smoked and did whatever they wanted, usually surviving on a minimum wage from a manual labour job, or from their dole check. Yet, the funny thing about the band though is how despite these humble and unremarkable beginnings, they blossomed into an articulate powerhouse, producing memorable melodies and meaningful lyrics, all supplemented with gorgeously well written chord structures and lead guitar parts so simple and yet so beautiful.
The album itself is a testament to this, each song being in it's own little world with strict physical rules, opening on the strong acoustic John Lee Hooker (but scouse) stomp of Son of a Gun, the band implores us 'if you waaaahnt I'll tell yeew a story', one of the kids sitting down to listen to the story of this album were amongst others, a young Noel and Liam Gallagher. Other tunes like I Can't Sleep and Timeless Melody pay a genuine homage to Captain Beefheart and the band that started it all, The Beatles. Throughout the album the band doesn't lose it's identity and culture, and this is the great thing about the it, though each song rambles and roves it's own way to it's humorous or touching conclusion, they are forever grounded by the scouse root, the accent shining through like the brightest of lights throughout, and the wit and good humour tying up all aspects of their sound.
Production wise, lead singer and songwriter Lee Mavers is known to be loathe of it, and it's easy to see why when comparing it to their BBC sessions or live sets, the band was a ferocious monster live, and this album sounds far too polished to be considered a true reflection of their sound. But that is arbitrary, the songs are so well written and thought out that this tiniest of issues subsides, the raw power hitting you in the stomach like a knuckle dusted punch.
The La's debut album is flawed, insofar as the finely tuned and polished production of John Leckie, but don't let that put you off, it still contains some of the most bizarrely out of era pop tunes and stomping rock tracks that the city has ever produced, any fan of any music owes it to themselves to check it out and find out for themselves, regardless of if you like the scouse accent or find it intolerable, it will leave you begging for more from the elusive band, ever to be disappointed by the fact that it is extremely unlikely they will ever release anything again.