16 Sep 2014
Album Review: Allah-La's "Worship The Sun"
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
A lot has changed in the short space just shy of two years since Allah-La's released their self titled debut. Having met and bonded while working in L.A's Amoeba Records, that debut was a welcome release from a bunch of guys who loved classic albums, and obviously enjoyed each other's company. Since then, their popularity has exploded, and as a result "Worship The Sun" faced a weight of expectation that often drags down even the most well intentioned sophomore effort.
Initial critical reaction tended to indicate that this was a fairly safe, 'more of the same' sort of effort, and while this is obviously the work of the same band, I'd like to expand upon that slightly back-handed description.
"Worship The Sun" is a much more mature effort than the debut, and by that I don't mean that it's more serious, or less fun. The jangly vintage surf-pop of the debut is still a dominant force, but the arrangements on "Worship The Sun" manage to integrate other, complimentary influences that hadn't been hinted at in the past. These influences add depth and a more well rounded element to the band's sound, which makes the debut sound more like a rough blueprint in comparison, and also hints at the possibilities for evolution in the band's future recordings.
The background hum and distorted guitars that usher in"De Vida Voz" are an early indication that things aren't quite going to run as expected here, even if the track does then settle into a more familiar harmonious jangle. Elsewhere "Yemeni Jade" brings in a lonesome steel guitar to tap into the spacious windswept vistas of early, instrumental Calexico in an extremely effective fashion, while "Better Than Mine" has a great Byrds / Burritos vibe going for it.
Variation, and evolution of sound aside though, the other secret to the success of "Worship The Sun" is simply that the songs are much stronger than those previously offered up by the band. "Ferus Gallery" and "No Werewolf" are the strongest surf instrumentals that the band have penned to this point, and songs like the anthemic garage rocker "Follow You Down" and "501-415" show that much has been learnt in the last few years, with the early promise of the debut honed and perfected here.
"Worship The Sun" is available on vinyl, and CD.