The Allah-Las, ‘Worship The Sun’ – Album Review
Unlike the countless bands who gaze back to the psychedelic era for inspiration, the Allah-Las have struck on something that lifts them high up over the dreck. Their sound is natural and not some kind of forced representation of another era; evoking without choking if you will.
With 'Worship The Sun,' their sophomore offering, they continue to move forward while glancing back, building on the ideas put forth on their stellar debut. All the classic brush strokes are there in full color, the jangly, brittle, yet always biting guitar tones are front and center, while the pulsing rhythms never let things drop off into slumberland. There are no direct band to band comparisons to made with this lot -- a good thing for sure -- as they are not directly indebted to one specific band or sound. There are elements of blissfully reverbed surf guitar mixed in the psychedelic veering swirls, and the earthy vocals of Miles Michaud, which are neither cliche snotty garage nor dazed and confused, keep things grounded.
The album kicks off with some slight white noise before jumping into 'De Vida Voz,' which is all folk strumming guitars and percussion delivering a nice introduction to the LP. 'Had It All' is a primo garage folk punker with those perfectly applied reverb drenched backing vocals. As with a good chunk of their songs, there are elements of the more folk rock side of the 13th Floor Elevators at play here. This style suits these guys very well, providing just enough haze to the mix without ever tipping overboard. 'Artifact' follows a similar path, with some obscure lyrics that are right at home. The lead guitar work of Pedrum Siadatian is nothing but flavorful throughout the album.
Like their debut, 'Worship The Sun' features a few instrumental tracks that create a nice interlude along the way. 'Ferus Gallery,' 'Yemini Jade' and ' No Werewolf' fill the bill here. Each one is distinctly moody, with elements of exotica, surf and psych melting together. 'No Werewolf' in particular sounds like a lost surf meets garage classic, which is no surprise, since it is heavily built on both 'The Fourth Dimension' by the Ventures, and 'Werewolf' by the Frantics (both essentially the same song).
Though the signs all point directly to a 1960s thing influence, there is also a distinct comparison to much of the Bomp Records' roster circa the late '70s and early '80s. Bands like the Last and the Miracle Workers also looked back while adding their own ingredients, much like the Alla-Las are doing in 2014. A track like 'Follow You Down' is just as rooted in today as it is yesterday.
One of the album's best tracks, 'Buffalo Nickel,' adds in some sweet pop style backing vocals to good use, it's almost as if the Turtles stopped by to lend a hand, while the album's title cut works in a pseudo bossa nova style rhythm to add another color to the painting at hand. One of the album's highlights, 'Better Than Mine,' is all kinds of 'Younger Than Yesterday'-era Byrds, with enough country influence to evoke that great cosmic American music. 'Every Girl' has a strong Velvet Underground meets Fleshtones vibe to it, pulling in years of influences together into one great song.
The one thing that sets these guys apart is their ability to pull together a pile of fairly tried and true influences and mix them together in just the right way to make it sound fresh. So many bands opt for the usual '60s cliches of either lunkhead fuzz riffs or droning psychedelic ramblings. The Allah-Las steer clear of those ditches and in the process are able to create something that, while obviously rooted in the past, is a genuine artifact from today. Like their self-titled debut, 'Worship The Sun' continues to grow on the listener.
With each and every spin, the songs sink in deeper. This baby is highly recommended to fans of jangling, psych tinged rock and roll goodness.