Saturday, 9 August 2008

laurel collective : vuitton blues

In summer, I walk around a lot more. It's nicer to because it doesn't rain as much, and there's usually one song stuck in my head the whole time. Three years ago, it was A Certain Romance by Arctic Monkeys, two years ago, it was You!Me!Dancing by Los Campesinos, last summer it was Come on Feet by Pete and the Pirates.

This year, the honour belongs to Laurel Collective, recent signings to Domino imprint Double Six Records (also home to Eugene McGuinness). The song in question is their current single, Vuitton Blues. In comparison, just for comparison's sake, with the aforementioned singles, it has the catchy, warm ambience of all the others, but I find it more subtle. Also with Los Campesinos, the female vocalist just cannot sing, which has somewhat soured my liking for them I'm afraid,

Back to the point, Laurel Collective are a 6 piece, whittled down from a lot more before. They used to be two different bands, but then decided it would be a better idea to join forces and form some kind of super-group. Bob Tallast is one of 2 vocalists, who offers the kind of vocals that you'd expect to hear from indie-pop (think GoodBooks meets O Fracas meets The Smiths if you want a lazy reference point) but imbuing them with a tenderness that I find original. Martin Sakatu brings a lot of soul and more power to proceedings and the combination is just thrilling. Behind them, you have your standard bass / guitar / drum / tasty analogue synth combo.

Vuitton Blues opens with gently throbbing synths, then a riff that sounds familiar but remains hard to place. Handclaps and vocalist number one, Bob, enter with more synthesizer washing around them. Backing vocals from Martin start to creep in. Around the minute mark, a beautiful moment occurs : Bob is cooing that everything in his life is in bloom and then it falls to pieces. The vocal combination at this point is just great, I can't think of any two vocalists that dovetail so well, it's not call and response, it's more emotive than that and doesn't take itself seriously at all.

It's the kind of thing Les Incompetents were aiming for but just couldn't achieve. So, I'm being blown away just by this combination and in comes the chorus. It's a bouncy sing-a-long chorus to die for whilst also marking the point in the song where everything comes together. Before it's dashing off in all kinds of tangents, but this is a brief moment of unity amongst this buoyant mess of a pop song. Cue neat guitar solo, soulful vocals from the other singer and then repeat of the chorus. I think that is the genius of dual vocalists, the second verse never seems like a lazy repetition if the voice changes.

At this point, you know, I'd be happy if the song ended. It's pretty good, I don't ask for much more from my pop songs than this. But, this one weighs in at over 4 minutes, slightly above average and there is a reason for this. After the second chorus, the guitar breaks down before Martin returns with the chorus but this time in badabap form as opposed to the Louis Vuitton bag referencing former version. The falling to pieces comes back after its fleeting appearance earlier and breaks my heart into a lot of little pieces before picking everything back up together into a rousing finale. A little touch like this is what sets Laurel Collective out as a very promising proposition, whilst ensuring the song will remain much more than just a sparkling short-lived summer fling.

Laurel Collective - Vuitton Blues
buy the single here///visit their myspace

Their mini album, Feel Good Hits of A Nuclear War, is out as well and it's great and you will hear about it later. For now though, just savour this song. I will be at their gig at Bardens Boudoir on 25th September for the launch of the next single, International Love Affair, which will be a digital affair as well. I can't wait, if the video below for Vuitton Blues is any hint as to the joys their live show might hold.

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