REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Garage Rockers Allah-Las Unveil Latest Nuggets

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

  The Los Angeles quartet’s sophomore takes up where their debut left off… about 1965.
Worship the sun

Nuggets has a lot to answer for. When we first found ourselves in the Allah-Las’ Los Angeles garage a couple of years back, there was every reason to think their lo-fi reverb-soaked sound had as much to do with an actual scarcity of recording budget as it did their obvious admiration for ‘original artyfacts from the first psychedelic era’.

That their latest LP Worship The Sun repeats the same trick as their 2012 self-titled debut suggests this ‘60s aesthetic is at least as important to them as the tunes within. There’s nothing wrong with that per say, and I for one have devoured the odd Electric Prune. It’s just, for these ears, a Cryan’ Shame that these groovy kids don’t quite match the ambition of their idols’ dusty 45s.

Fittingly, only five of the 14 tracks stretch beyond the three minute mark, and there’s something refreshing in keeping things that tight. Take the wonderfully wonky fuzzbox frolicking of ‘501-415’ which packs as much into 90 odd seconds as fellow ‘60s enthusiasts The Ramones mustered during the punk era.

Allah-Las 1

Elsewhere, ‘Buffalo Nickel’ channels the jangly Byrdsian spirit into a toe-tapping tour-de-force, while the countrified ‘Better Than Mine’ mixes Glen Campbell sincerity and the pop-sensibilities of a mellowed-out Replacements with frontman Miles Michaud’s gin-soaked message about always trying to take a “higher road”. There’s a fair few instrumentals here too, as typified by the Misirlou-lite ‘No Werewolf’, and vibes-driven mashed potato ‘Ferus Gallery’.

It’s all good fun of course, and at not one point do Allah-Las come across as taking themselves too seriously. The melodies are there, you just sense they could set their aim a bit higher next time and move on to something more original. After all, garages are designed for stationary vehicles.

6/10 Allah-Las, Worship The Sun, released 16 September on Innovative Leisure Written by Gary Shepherd