One Reissue That's Worth It
The La's eponymous 1990 release may have been their only studio album, but it also earn the Liverpudlian group enough praise to make them one of Britain's most treasured groups. The album was finally completed after almost 3 years of attempts to produce it with various producers and the deluxe edition includes a new, digitally remastered version of the album recorded with Mike Hedges, whose production credits now include U2, Manic Street Preachers and The Cure). Being that perfectionist singer and songwriter Lee Mavers allegedly cited this as his favourite version of the album, it's nice to feel that you're finally hearing the work the way it was meant to be.
Both CDs include extras from recorded sessions for TV, radio and various other mixes of the album tracks by other producers, guaranteeing that you'll know the album inside out by the time you listen to both, something that could threaten to ruin the neat 12 track composition rather than adding to it as everyone knows the feeling of having listened to a favourite album too much.
The reason that 'The La's' is such a classic album has to be something to do with the packed beats, tingling guitarwork and busy vocals which somehow combine to create impassioned, yet uncluttered works of lackadaisical, sunshine rock genius. While, 'There She Goes' reached commercial success, top tunes like 'Way Out' and the jaunty and tense, 'Freedom Song' are clearly equally deserving of time on any real music fan's stereo.
The session tracks have a splendid sense of spontaneity to them, something that's rare knowing of Mavers precocious genius and the palaver surrounding the release of the album. 'Son Of A Gun' froths with breezy charm as the vocal melodies leap from the record and come to life, the overlapping vocal strains on the GLR session of 'I Can't Sleep' are especially attractive, give the track an extra vibrancy. 'I Am The Key' is a glorious addition to the album with a radiant melody.
The Mike Hedges album begins with the energetic rock of 'I.O.U', kicking into a version of 'I Can't Sleep' which feels a little more grungey and bass heavy than the previously released version. The Mike Hedges album also boasts additional tracks, 'Knock Me Down'; an insouciant number with wandering bass and 'Clean Prophet', a caustic tune with a military drumbeat and brash sentiment that breaks up the more whimsical numbers perfectly, as well as the jaunty, 'Come In Come Out'. 'Way Out' is enriched on this recording with flighty guitar licks given an extra boost. 'Timeless Melody' appears here as 'Timeless Memory', retaining its natural beauty but with an extra sheen. The 13 track album is followed by 7 tracks from other sessions, giving you an idea of how hard the band (and producers) worked on trying to find the elusive perfect version of the album, for fans this will be a fascinating voyage of discovery, but for most listening to essentially the same tracks several times could end up as overkill. Tracks with a significantly different feel include 'Way Out' as produced by John Leckie, which has a spirited effervescence from a ukelele sound and 'Feelin' which has a sultry half acoustic feeling on Bob Andrews mix, compared to the raw power of its Mike Hedges counterpart.
A musical technology buffs dream with so many mixes to compare, a completionist's dream or simply a fantastic album with a myriad of "new" material, this is one reissue that is worth adding to your collection.