I get a lot of promos that compare bands to other acts, and i always sort through those looking for one of two things:
- a band comparing themselves to something popular / successful that i do not hate (i.e., SOUNDS LIKE: Slint -- Well, it probably doesn't but i want to at least hear it. SOUNDS LIKE: Cocteau Twins -- means they use a lot of effects pedals and/or have a soprano vocalist. Okay. SOUNDS LIKE: Late-era Talk Talk-- Uh, no you don't. Please stop saying that.)
- Bands that say they sound like a list of acts i have never heard of. Which probably means they are either: gangsta rap, country, or rave music.
La Cerca bear the distinction of being the first band i have ever seen whose promo company said that they sound like The Church.
No one ever compares bands to The Church, and this is despite the fact that The Church are a hugely successful pop band with 24 albums and one world-wide hit that everyone knows (Steve Kilbey introduced it on the last tour by saying, "You probably lost your virginity in the back of a car while this was playing..."). No one ever thinks to compare a band to The Church.
And i love The Church. Seriously -- i have about 20 CDs by them and a half dozen vinyl records. I have seen them live a half dozen times -- in four separate decades!
So, the comparison from the promo company piqued my interest and i downloaded the record. And, well, it's light pop with a delicate voice and somewhat thoughtful lyrics. So, yeah, okay, this sounds a little like The Church, specifically from the Starfish / Gold Afternoon Fix era -- that sort of sunny, happy pop. Except that this is a little more lo-fi in the recording.
The record starts with a lovely little strummed guitar part and some chiming keys. Drums tap in and the bass picks a funky little melody. The song is called Arizon (i guess that in Tucson, where the band is from, the final A in that state name is optional. who knew?) and it makes me want to sit on the patio with a cold beer and a good book as i tap my foot along. It's a fun little number.
On Climate Control, La Cerca rock out a little. The guitars are a little fuzzy and the vocalist really belts it out.
They channel Seance-era The Church on Sunrise for Everyone, the guitars bouncing against each other in a sort of chiming cascade like Koppes and Wilson-Piper on that record. La Cerca, however, move this song along at a furious pace, the drummer really working, as the song gets faster and faster. This is really nice.
They bring in some pedal steel on Sorry XO, which is a catchy and slightly melancholy western-sounding song. The First One is a pleasant pop tune that gets nicely rocking on the choruses.
Weather Festival chimes nicely, the lead guitar part in the beginning reminding me of Maurice Deebank in those early Felt records. The song gets louder and the guitar noisier as it progresses. I like the growth of this one, and the way that the guitar kind of clatters along. Nicely done.
Dream Continues has a lethargic melancholy feel to it, as vocalist Andrew Gardner sings about the heat of summer. Yeah, i bet it gets pretty ugly in Tucson in August. Still, this is toe-tappingly catchy. Songbirds & Rainbirds is similar. It is insanely catchy, a good sunshiny pop tune.
Finally La Cerca wrap up their record with Mountain Villager. This is almost twelve minutes long, which is twice as long as any other tune on the record. The band stretches out here, really jamming along in the middle. It doesn't seem that long, which i guess is a compliment.
There are some nice moments on this record, but overall i find it a little too samey sounding. Still, La Cerca are on a good path, and they should keep it up. The Church connection is a little tenuous, but i can hear a hint of a connection between La Cerca and some of the mellower moments of that Australian act. Thatís a pretty cool thing, really.