Saturday 21 September 2013

La Vega - Wave

Album review by

Given the distinctly autumnal weather we've experienced these last few weeks, summer seems like a distant memory. In fact, the last official day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere is today (September 21st). We may have many more summery records to review in the coming months (it's always summer somewhere), but we thought we'd mark the occasion by pretending we're soaking up some rays whilst listening to '60s throwbacks La Vega who released their début album 'Wave' last month. We say '60s, but the roots to some of these songs go right back to the beginnings of rock n' roll and surf music, so the odd taste of the '50s is to be found here too, but it all has a modern twist.

The opening seconds to first track, single 'Do The Surfer Girl Limbo!', tell us how it's gonna be. It's instant twang as the guitars take the lead along with a similarly vintage bass sound and the drums pushed further back in the mix. The song, like the album, deals, somehow, in both authentic sounds from The Ventures, Dick Dale and so on but with enough of a current swing to know this isn't an original. There are melodies aplenty too, as the band deal mostly in more straightforward (but just as retro) guitar-pop, as heard on 'Love Ya Self', 'Minor Nightmares' and the pretty 'You Had To Be There' which is matched by 'Jackie', the song that immediately follows it.

More timeless variety comes in the garage-rock of 'Shade' or 'Where You Normally Go', and the punky, more up-to-date sound of 'Key West' which is almost Strokes-esque in its melodic chorus. 'Slow Down' also has a more current feel. The beautiful, otherworldly dream-surf of the instrumental title-track is a total joy that's over too soon, but it's followed by another lovable slowie in 'Exit Tax' which is a definite stand-out. As the album progresses these slower songs begin to show the true strength of the band. 'Radio Free' is another dreamy number that sounds just great. Then for final track 'It's Nice To Think It Might Be True' we get all sentimental and the end of summer is ushered in. The weather may not be great, but the tunes are just fine.

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