The Liverpudlian La’s. Darlings of Q magazine. We’ve all heard of them more than we’d possibly like – karaoke bars and top British singles charts, but after scratching beneath the surface, what’s really hidden amidst a severely overplayed hit single and a surge of hype some 20-odd years ago?
The answer? Well, frankly, not much. Sure, it’s a double-disc reissue, jam-packed with indie posturing and pseudo bohemian swagger, but when it comes to actual tunes, it’s distinctly lacking. Even 1991’s ode to heroin ‘There She Goes’ offers little more than two-and-a-bit minutes of feeble Britpop spark. As the surge of utter audible pain forces itself through my disinclined skull, I am, for once, glad that I wasn’t conceived in time to aurally register to the height of this band’s muddled mess of a career.
Sneaking their crooked path through the playlists of your most despised commercial radio stations, The La’s offer (or offered?) nothing fresh to an indie landscape of the time dotted with The utterly wondrous Smiths and The spellbinding Cure, whose gems of alt-pop genius are stowed away, locked in the hearts of even your most pretentious brainwashed indie kids. Songs such as ‘I O U’ demonstrate the amateur-ish style that has unfortunately come to define The La’s from then on, a not too glittering selling point for the popular DIY ethic amongst indie tribes.
Although this eponymous debut is widely regarded by many ‘in-the-know’ sources as a joyous swirling melting pot of infectious indie-riffs, a mere listen to said album leaves the listener baffled, wondering whether such critics have been copying and pasting off their press release, or simply documenting the wrong album. Tracks such as ‘Looking Glass’ drag at a seemingly half-dead velocity, offering little more than a remedy for insomnia, rather than a suggested indie call to arms.
Not only that, but it sounds dated. Unlike many bands of the same era (for example The aforementioned Cure), it appears that The La’s cutting-edge breath-of-fresh-air sound died a in unison with the dawn of a new era. Some things are better left to die, and this shambolic, and quite frankly boring LP is just one of them. 1990. The year The La’s should have died.