I Don’t Know You
A quick survey of Lola Ray CD reviews makes it increasingly
obvious that this band is something special. Most
alternative music publications have given the group
of guys outstanding reviews, and justifiably so considering
I Don’t Know You, which was released in June
of 2004, is the band’s debut album. Though
the album itself is solid, it is easy to understand
why one would not expect much from this band. Limited
expectations would typically arise upon learning
that the band’s album was released by DC Flag,
a label co-run by none other than Benji and Joe Madden,
the twin vocalists from Good Charlotte. This in itself
is surprising as Good Charlotte’s bubble-gum
wanna-be-punk music lacks any of the musical genius
that is immediately found in the lyrics and instrumentation
of I Don’t Know You.
The band’s run-in with the Good Charlotte
vocalists was probably the best thing that could
have happened to them. Being one of the first bands
to sign on with the newly formed label in 2003, Lola
Ray has already earned itself a respectable reputation
with a number of awestruck critics who are still
shaking their heads over the fact that the band is
Perhaps one of the best things about Lola Ray is
that it is nearly impossible to place them into any
one genre. The album’s opening songs, “Plague
(We Need No Victims)” and “What It Feels
Like,” can definitely be placed into the punk
genre, however, but songs such as “Preach On”,
though a bit softer, fall into a garage-esque category.
To make things more confusing, lead vocalist, guitarist
and songwriter Jon Balicanta maintains a voice that
more easily ties into indie-rock than anything else.
The instrumentation on the album is just as diverse
as the many ways in which Balicanta sings the lyrics.
When listening to this cd, one can expect anything
from heavy guitar riffs to unique bouts of electronic
Though the album is inconsistent in sound, it is
orchestrated in a smooth manner that allows the songs
to easily transition from one to the other. I Don’t
Know You is definitely worth purchasing, if nothing
more than to marvel at the fact that this is indeed
a debut album. The maturity of the band is evident,
even though most of their songs are comprised of
simple lyrics that project a feeling of teen angst,
the subject matter of nearly every pop-punk band.
This is what makes Lola Ray different. You may or
may not hear the music on the radio. The band members
could very easily take over MTV, and eventually sell
out and settle on selling ungodly amounts of records
that offer nothing new to the music world. That,
however, is their decision. For now, Lola Ray is
a little bit of something borrowed and a little bit
of something new, but definitely a band worth listening
|And now, the sexiest
thing I've ever written:
they're just about everywhere.
From your girlfriend to your mother to your wife
to your sister to your, well, just about all women
everywhere, and some men too. Yes, it sure
looks like boobies aren't going to be going anywhere
any time soon, so we'd better all get used to them.
Archer Prewitt has. He's come a long way since
his glory days in the '90s with staunch clothesists
the Coctails and the Sea and Cake. (I don't
think any of those bands' album covers even had girls
on them at all!) Prewitt has had a handful
of solo albums since then, most notably 1999's White
Sky (my #11 album of that year), and though that
album was propelled by excellent songcraft and unique
instrumentation, it didn't even hint at the fact
that Wilderness would feature boobies on its cover.
Yes, not only is Wilderness his most successfully
ambitious album to date, but with it, Prewitt has
joined the ranks of the Pixies, the Slits, and Roxy
Music for putting out a career-defining album with
boobies on the cover.
What's that, you say? They're only cartoon
boobies? Not very realistic? Possibly
underage? I know. I had my doubts at
first, too. But thorough, repeated critical
analysis has brought me to the conclusion that yes,
in fact, this album is fit to stand up against those
others, penciled mammaries and all.
You're probably wondering what I'm getting at.
Well, you know how girls like the Shins? Archer
Prewitt doesn't sound anything like the Shins. But
you know how when you are listening to the Shins,
if you are a dude, and not a girl, you think, “I
like this, but if I were a girl, I would REALLY like
I think the same thing when I'm listening to this
album, only I already REALLY like it too, so I can
only imagine what girls will do when they listen to
Probably they'll all take off their tops or
something. Which, in case you can't tell from
this review, I'm totally in favor of. There's
nothing wrong with being sexy every once in a while.
Though mostly I'm just curious if they look
anything like they do in cartoons.
Before the Dawn Heals Us
Nope, I still can't
see it. About a year and a half
ago, the French electronic duo wowed the underground
with Dead Cities,
Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts. Many
of that albums' fans went so far as to suggest that
the group's name was short for “My Bloody Valentine
x 83.” And while I respect these people's
taste in musical reference points, I still can't
really see how the comparison holds much weight,
or for that matter, what all the fuss was about.
the Dawn Heals Us is a completely
different matter. For one, M83 has lost a member,
which wouldn't be such a big deal for, say, the Mormon
Tabernacle Choir, but this basically changes M83
from a band name to an alias.
Most groups would try to cover up their personnel
change, donning fried chicken buckets on their heads
and raiding MTV like we were all too stupid to notice.
But M83's Anthony Gonzalez has taken the opposite
Yes, in a move that was possibly orchestrated to
hide from the French government, Gonzalez has eschewed
nearly all of the trademarks of his group's last
album in favor of live drums, heavier themes, and
above all, melodrama.
It's a move that may confuse those who are already
fans, but personally, I admire Gonzalez's ability
to evolve. It also doesn't hurt that what he's chosen
to evolve into happens to be just my thing. In
fact, I can kind of even see the MBV comparisons
now. Although not as meticulously produced as, say,
the Dawn Heals Us certainly shares
that albums' childlike sense of wonder, as well as
its desire to make every single song the most important
experience you will ever have in your life.
This approach to songwriting is a risky one. It
either really works or it really doesn't. So
it should say something that there are only two real
missteps here: the repetitive “Can't Stop,” and
“Car Chase Terror.” Take out those two
tracks and you're left with 55 minutes of
pure music concentrate. Just enjoy it while you
can, because next year M83 will probably be the
next teen pop sensation.