It’s been a busy few weeks music-wise. I recorded and released an album with my friend Tim Simmons, then the album I’ve been working on with my cousin for the better part of two years years also came out. Somewhere in the middle of it all, the LaLaLettes reached out to me from Wales, UK, to see if I’d be interested in playing on a couple of tracks. I’d been a fan of their since hearing their album ONKY earlier this year, so I leapt at the opportunity!
What I like about the LaLaLettes is that their music sounds alive. Playing one of their songs is like walking into a party that’s already in full swing. I hear hints of a lot of my favorite musical acts on their tracks as well. My first impression of ONKY was that it sounded like a cross between any classic Frank Zappa album and The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and the Band, with maybe a slightly more experimental flare.
Granted, I’m not the most objective of observers when it comes to their latest pair of tracks, but I’m picking up shades of the Beach Boys on their (our!) new offering. In fact, when I asked what kind of sound they were looking for on “J’ecoute La Radio,” their response was simply “Mid to late 60s Beach Boys.” Even before I added anything, that’s exactly what their track sounded like to me — a cross between Beach Boys’ Party (1965) and Smiley Smile (1967).
For some reason, the song earned an “E” for “explicit lyrics” on Spotify. My French is a little rusty, so I’m not sure why, but one of the lines struck me like it might roughly translate to “I will molest an elephant tomorrow morning for breakfast.” But, again, my French isn’t what it used to be — and it used to be pretty bad — so take my translation for what it’s worth.
“Song 71” (aka “You Didn’t Want My Love”) takes a quieter turn. It’s a short, sweet, sad song about being spurned that leans in a Dylanesque direction, once again reminiscent of The Basement Tapes. What makes the two songs perfect complements to each other is their looseness and intimate sound. If “J’ecoute La Radio” is like walking into a party that’s already in full swing, “Song 71” is like sticking around to help the host clean up.
In any case, I’m playing drums and bass on “Song 71,” and I’m playing organ and singing on “J’ecoute La Radio.” Despite its French lyrics, I have to admit that I sound a little more like Edith Bunker than Edith Piaf on that one. But I’m mostly in key, and I also imagine that sounding like a diva is far from the point on a record like this. The real point is to have fun, which is exactly what I did — and I hope you have fun, too, when you listen to it!