Los and the Deadlines
Perfect Holiday is available at:
13th July, 2015
Alternative, Rock, Grunge
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Feel at Ease– 9.6
It Could Be So Much Better– 9.5
The Youth’s Opinion– 9.6
Batshit Crazy– 9.5
Lust to Shop for Nothing– 9.5
Feel at Ease, The Youth’s Opinion, Lust to Shop for Nothing
The Youth’s Opinion
Lyrics by Alex Losardo
Music by Los and the Deadlines
Alex LoSardo – lead vocals, guitar
Niels Bakx – guitar and backing vocals
Rotem Haguel – bass and backing vocals
Alberto Voglino – drums and backing vocals
Recorded and Mixed by Tobin Jones at The Park Studios
Produced by Tobin Jones and Los and the Deadlines
Mastered by Phil Joannides
Artwork by Alberto Voglino
WHEN you get to a certain point with an act…
you have to cut to the chase. There is no need for a lot of background; a big build-up: Los and the Deadlines (have been on these pages) a number of times; almost like old friends- most of you will be aware of them. Before I get down to business- via some biography and background information- I will raise one point: longevity and modern-day bands. Some of my favourite ‘underground’ bands- Crystal Seagulls, The Bedroom Hour etc. – have called time- bands in the mainstream have split up: it seems great music does not guarantee a long-term future. In the case of the aforementioned bands, the issue lies deeper: aspects around management and relations; personal fulfillment and finance. It is such a shame this has to happen: great acts (who make great music) forced to quit, in spite of their glorious sounds. With so many new acts coming through; so much competition (for festival/gig spots), people are being forced out- only a select few go the distance. I am all for bands/acts coming through; great musicians coming to attention: the more musicians we produce, the less likely we are to see consistency. There is this trend towards brevity and short burst: bands come and succeed; they are then overcome by pressure/external factors; a new band comes along (and repeats the process). Seldom do we see- in the realm of new music- acts that last a long time- several years; produce many albums and E.P.s. Maybe I am over-simplifying, yet my point is valid: life expectancy is fairly short-lived; not too many people acts have a long career- it is quite upsetting to see. Before I finish my point- with regards Los and the Deadlines- let me introduce them to you (using their own words):
“The seedy underbelly of any major city spawns some of the most depraved and morally reprehensible bastards that even the dregs of civilization look down upon. These cretins walk amongst us, they ask you for money, they serve you drinks, they file your taxes, and in this case; they formed a band. In their new EP, “Perfect Holiday”, the Deadlines have not only made the depiction of absurdities in modern-day’s western society their craft; they made it their mission. With their tongue-in-cheek lyrics, thrashing riffs and thumping rhythms, Los and the Deadlines are a prophet’s voice in a decaying civilisation. Much like the city that they hail from, the Deadlines are the establishment of anti-establishment. They make sound. They make noise.”
Here is a group that will overcome the odds: forge a long career and make a great show of things. With their latest E.P. out- which I will review later- the band are growing in confidence: their music is getting stronger and they show no signs of slowing. The relationships in the band are solid and brotherly; the boys have a clear respect for one another- this comes through in their music. With regards other factors- finance and competition- the Los’ lads seem to be overcoming it: they are one (of few bands) who seem unlikely to split: I can see them playing on for many years; becoming headline regulars. It is hard to pin-point the one reason behind this; why they seem so solid- the music itself is a key factor. In a scene of over-familiarity and sameness, Los and the Deadlines do things differently: the band mix ‘90s Grunge with modern Rock; their lyrics mix modern life with politics; their anthems are unique and original- few other acts can be tied to them. It is not just their originality that defines them: the sheer confidence they project is hard to refute; it makes every note so vital and urgent. The combination of forces- the great relations and terrific music- marks the band out for greatness- expect to hear a lot more from them. Perfect Holiday is their latest offering: to my mind, the finest work they have produced to date.
Barreling out the gates (like a horny rodeo bull), Feel at Ease is a demented and feral thing- a snarling track that wants to eat you alive- well, in the initial moments at least. The song’s intro. mixes distortion with tease; jumping bass with rolling-rock percussion- a typically dizzying/head-f*** opening from Los and the Deadlines. Taking your brain one way; your body the other; that bass twang lodges inside your brain- before our front-man steps up to the mic. Having reviewed this track previously- back in April of this year- I knew what to expect: over the last three months, the song has revealed new beauty. Looking at the central figure- someone who has a ‘big plan’ to make money and get on his feet- that mixture of despondency and hope is infectious. We all can relate to that loser-in-the-face-of-the-odds struggle: someone who is desperate for a bit of money; convinces himself safety is just around the corner- a lyrical subject not too many bands touch upon it. Tired (our hero is) of trying to achieve the dream, he is walking the streets- looking for a way out of his struggles. Looking for a “quick fix”, our man is trying everything he can: that need to feel at ease is paramount. Entrancing as the lyrics/vocals are- and the distinct Spoken Word-style LoSardo delivers them- the band joins the fray- delivering an impassioned and quirky composition. The guitars chug and jive; the percussion hisses and teases- the bass twangs and strikes. As our hero speculates and worries- paranoia grows; his ‘contact’/way out seems to have a dead phone; it seems like he has been screwed-over- the vocal gets anxious and sweaty (our hero needs a Plan-B). Just as another parable is delivered, the band changes direction: the music becomes focused and hard, Grunge-like (Nirvana’s early work comes to mind) and pressing- although never too heavy or forceful. The band’s twirls and spirals; solos and arpeggios add emotion and drama to proceedings- the song seems like a film score or tangible thing (their instruments represent heartbeats and anxiety; the emotions of the hero). Additive and sing-along, Feel at Ease boasts a memorable chorus: the entire track whizzes by (actually it is 3:29 long) but you are left wanting more- entranced by its magic and mystique.
It Could Be So Much Better begins with a punchy beat: soon joined by a leather jacket-clad guitar (sounding a bit like glory days AC/DC), it is a fantastic opening. Controlled and confident; teasing and underplayed- the band tempt you in from the opening seconds. As the title suggests, our hero wants things to be better: the song looks at the malaise of modern life; the boredom of the situation- that need for something else. Our front-man is caught in a daze (“On T.V., nothing ever changes. It’s getting boring/Open up my cupboard to look just for the right booze”); junk food and cigarettes are on his mind- almost as a way to medicate the realities of life. The chorus is spoon-fed and teased; highlighting the importance of the words- and getting the listener invested in the song. By the time the second verse appears, our man looks out at the world: the way humans can become better; the wat we can “start evolving.” Typical of the band, the music speaks as loud as the lyrics: the composition fuses Grunge and Alternative; dark grumbles and static beats- to create something moody and angry; grumbling and concrete- underlining and emphasising the band’s messages. Looking into modern life and the workplace, our front-man is bored: his boss is disgruntled; our man wants better from life- “Pretty sure I won’t be here tomorrow.” Past the half-way mark, the band unleashes a twirling coda: guitar notes crackle and spark; the percussion spits and strikes; the bass guides and lunges- an epic soundscape begins to unfold. Expanding and elongating- throwing in some new sounds and diversions- the band goes full frenzy: ramping things up and rushing for the heavens- before the chorus comes back to play. With his voice more urgent and bold, our hero is wracked and determined- a man who knows things need to be improved. A likely future-single- and a song that ha myriad music video options- would kill to direct the hell out of that puppy- it is a terrific sophomore number. Once more touching on the everyday, the boys highlight a common issue: that need to break from the mundane; the frustration of the workplace- the desire to do something meaningful in life. Completing a tremendous 1-2, Los and the Deadlines have rarely sounded more assured- It Could Be So Much Better is one of their finest (and most assured) number so far.
The Youth’s Opinion is next off the blocks: it wastes no time in making its voice heard. Feet-tapping and s***-kicking, it is an introduction that stumbles drunkenly. The album works like a concept work: a central character that progresses (as the album does). The opening number looked at desperation and scraping- relaying on half-arsed leads and dodgy deals. The following track sees him in a mundane job; determined not to stick it out- looking to change the world. By this stage, we see some development: this song is a musical job interview; that series (of inane questions and job requirements) – almost like our man is trying his luck again. Whether speaking in the first-person- or documenting the events of a fictional character- it is another addictive and unique number. The lyrics stand out here; the real-life/common quandaries are laid bare- again, we can all relate to what is being sung. From the banalities/purposelessness of job interviews (“Please provide at least two references/We’ll decide if they’re strong enough relationships”) there is a mix of world-weariness and sarcasm- that juvenile spit that shows distain (for such noxious logarithms and mathematics). The chorus is a mixture of desperation-cum-submission; our man looks at the requirements of the job market (“I’ll do anything, anywhere, any given time/I’ll never ask what is fair, I will never whine”); backed as it is by cooing vocals- giving it a great mix of Pop and Rock; adding some light amidst the anxiety. Complete with terrific vocals (including backing vocals) our hero mixes speaking and singing (excellent delivery when speaking; emotion and passion when singing) adding weight and emotion to the song- and emphasising Los and the Deadlines’ hallmarks. The song itself could have a few meanings: in addition to the workplace it could look at the music industry itself (that desire to tick boxes in order to survive) or a relationship dilemma (“Take me now, take me here, promise not to leave/I need a chance, give me a chance, PLEASE”). Building up the mystery, adding in some great delivery- a mixture of David Byrne and Bloc Party- the song whizzes and dances; trading vocals (inside one another)- you are captivated by its layers and details as they unfold. The song’s title seems most prescient: that need to fit into what youth want; to fit into the 18-30 market- whether their opinions are inane and stupid (as they tend to be) or not. Punctuating the song- and coming in around the half-way point again- the band provide some breathing room: a well-structured and strong compositional moment arrives; a wonderful bridge that provides a real sense of progress and development. The final verse is fast-paced and angry- lines are separated by little bursts of guitar and punctuation- as our man ups the (sarcasm) ante (“Congratulations, we are willing to offer this permanent position with 20 days holiday per fiscal year, this will involve unsocial hours and you’ll need to provide a track-record of meeting targets, good writing skills, excellent face-to-face communication, savvy with social networking and really do value the youth’s opinions..”). When these words are delivered it has me wondering: are the band speaking about the music industry itself; showing their dissatisfaction with ‘market goals’- making music that will satisfy social media needs/a sector that want things a particular way? Roaring and rollicking, The Youth’s Opinion is a brilliant midpoint track- and shows how strong the band are (turning in one of their most compelling and tight performances).
The penultimate number is Batshit Crazy: a song, presumingly not about fine love or tender romance. Starting with- an intro. that, strangely, mixes Reggae and Funk into the mix- the band do not go crazy in the initial phase- making sure the song begins with passion and kick; rather than fury and vengeance. Echoing and spacey (the early guitar utterance’s vibrate and wail) the boys change direction again- never staying with a basic/predictable sound; making sure their songs sound different and distinct. Looking at a disreputable scene- delivering his sermon with that blend of judgment and revulsion- our hero has seen some things- strip clubs and poles; a 16-year-old selling herself; his stomach turns as things unfold. You can picture the lyrics; see what is going on- sympathise with our hero’s plight. In an insane world, these types of occurrences are quite common. If we go down two avenues- the concept album developing for one; a new social issue the other- it is a fascinating song. Maybe our lead/character has reached a breaking-point: dissatisfied with the world, he needs to blow off steam- the way he is doing it has caused disgust and regret; maybe a necessary wakeup call. In terms of a message/theme, the band looks at the seedy and dark underbelly: the dank corners of society that need to be eradicated and purified. Alarmed by the city (“Her smoke is done, she rolls another/A man from the corner shouts he loves her!”) our hero is in disarray- the vocal is particular emotionally-fueled and tense. Without change or innocent, the chorus seems pretty apt- and a good a way as any (to describe what is happening). Marrying frenetic strings (with something taut and punchy) the band are on Red Alert- the composition is one of the most frantic on the E.P.
Taking Perfect Holiday to land, Lust to Shop for Nothing is a sensational closer: a track that makes its impressions instantaneously. Melting howling and snarling strings with combustible drumming, the introduction is alive and flailing: one of the strongest opening statements on the record. Consistently nervy and stressed, the vocal is gripping and tense: if we follow the story along, our man has reached a breaking-point. The song looks at consumerism and wastage: blowing money on things we don’t need; dislocated from reality, we/the subject blows money on pointless objects- leaving little left for rent and necessities. The dissatisfaction is almost palpable in the early phases- “Baby I’m broke, got nothing left/Had a bad month, just paid the rent/Here’s my credit card just spend a little less”- as our hero rallies against the insanity. Essentially, we spend too much time behind the screen: shopping and frittering away the time; forgetting the importance of human touch and reality check- using money prudently and wisely. Shades of Queens of the Stone Age come out in the song- the composition has elements of their Rated R-era work- with our front-man sounding a little (Josh) Homme-esque at times- whether the band are influenced by Q.O.T.S.A., I am not too sure. Whereas previous numbers have expanded and evolved, Lust’ is more focused and linear- in order to get its message across effectively. A cry to the masses, the band is completely in step: the composition is emphatic and filled with detail; the vocals combine and multiply- the energy and emotion involved is electrifying. As you’d expect from the lads, the midpoint gives way to musical adventure: having delivering some truths, the band unveil a stunning statement. Brash and pugnacious; syncopated and considered, the boys are in top form: at this point they unleash their tightest and most intriguing moment. It is hard to ignore that sense of judgment and dissatisfaction: the ideal that online shopping and the Internet is replacing real life/human interaction- we are becoming slaves to the machine. When the next verse starts to kick into life- “I had such a good time, what did you do?/Thank you so much, you’re too kind/I was at home looking for deals online/Let’s stay in tonight, see what we can find”- that combination of sarcasm and dissatisfaction comes into the spotlight. Our man is caught in a relationship that offers boredom and the indoors; no romance or reality- just needless surfing and shopping. Whilst the protagonist wastes time (shopping for nothing), our man has reached his limit- maybe he feels guilty he is not too dissimilar. The closing notes give the E.P. a fitting send-off: the guitars ramp up and attack; the drum rolls and pummels; the bass leers and contorts- perfectly wrapping-up a terrific track.
The entire band should be applauded and commended: they have really put in a lot of effort; come up with their strongest record to date. Whereas Part One: Bank looked at financial issues and caffeine; consumer life and woes, here they tackle new themes: finance and consumerism are still in place; the job market and online issues are brought to the fore. Whereas Part One’ looked at inane Facebook posts/’selfies; Perfect Holiday focuses on online shopping- the band are always brilliant at tapping into modern concerns/habits. Throughout the five tracks, the boys look into woes of society- the stresses of pointless jobs; the way we throw away dreams and life- and funnel it into terrific anthems. Forgoing love and break-up stresses, the band are original and more vital- why waste time saying the (same as anyone else) where there are important themes to be explored? The performances are uniformly exceptional- the entire group is in perfect sync. Alex LoSardo marks himself out as one of Rock’s most distinct singers: someone who pairs Spoken Word commentary with emotive vocals. Most bands- who play similar music- sing everything in full voice: it is one-dimensional and predictable. As Los and the Deadline’s lead, LoSardo does things differently- not content to let the lyrics do all the talking. His lyrics filled with stunning commentary and witty moments; brilliant cut and oblique avenues- one of the most accomplished set of lyrics the band have crafted. Most songwriters stick to tried waters- love and heartache; nothing too unique- yet LoSardo has a very special type of talent: he is someone who wants to make changes in the world; a person that wants to speak for his generation- and not just speak for himself. Niels Bakx shreds it with passion- combing effortless with the front-man- and showcases his full range of emotions. A spectacular guitarist- and one who has played with many other acts- mixes the theatrics of Matt Bellamy, the Rock grit of Page and Hendrix; the Grunge and Kurt Cobain and Kim Thayil- a multifarious and diverse guitar talent. Adding so much passion and importance to proceedings, Bakx almost steals the show: his guitar work is exemplary and inspirational from start to finish. Rotem Haguel- the band’s new recruit- provides bass and backing vocal. The former is consistently guiding and authoritative: keeping each track controlled and focused; guiding the band through every moment- making sure it all ties together. When combining his voice (with LoSardo) you get a great blend of tones: something that adds great weight to the songs (he sings on). A fantastic addition, Haguel demonstrates himself to be a phenomenal player: one of the most expressive and instinctive bass talents in modern Rock. Completing the line-up is Alberto Voglino: the band’s backbone and percussion king. At once primal and animal-like; the next teasing and restrained, Voglino combines drumming gods- Grohl and Peart; Ulrich and Castillo (Queens of the Stone Age)- into his special blend- one of the biggest names to watch. Together, the band is tight and mesmeric; nobody misses a beat- the entire effect is fantastic. Backed by terrific production values, Perfect Holiday is a tremendous achievement: an E.P. that brims with TUNES and insight; modern relevance and riffs; fist-pump and demure- what more could you possibly want?
Perfect Holiday is Los and the Deadline’s most impassioned work: the band have come on leaps and bounds; created their mist solid work- the most vital statement of their music. From the earliest notes, the listener has little time to rest: every hook, riff and vocal gets under the skin; the lyrics are quotable and stunning; the band performances consistently tight and inspired- the overall effect quite spellbinding. Usually when a band unveils an E.P.- especially when there are four or five songs on it- there is a weak link: that one track that is not quite as special as the rest- the supermodel who breaks winds when nobody is looking. When Los’ produced Part One: Bank (in January of 2014) that E.P. was great: I did feel that the opening two numbers could have been a little stronger; perfect a tad more urgent- to make sure you are gripped from the go. Perfect Holiday suffers no such slight: Feel at Ease is a gripping and nuanced opener that reveals something new (with each listen). The London-based clan has undergone a slight band change (a new-ish member in the fold); their lyrical focus has shifted a bit- whilst still retaining their cores of social commentary, relations and personal investigation- whilst their musicianship is stronger than ever- their current E.P. shows no weakness or surrender. Even as you look at the E.P.’s cover- a dilapidated (and possibly bomb-destroyed) building- there is sarcasm, irony and juxtaposition: the boys have a keen sense of humour; political edges to their music- that destructiveness and anger; beauty and restraint. Although their ‘Shows’ page- on their official band website- is blank, keep your eyes peeled: the boys will surely be taking to the road; playing around London for sure- promoting the E.P. with a vengeance. If you can catch them live- and it is something I am yet to do- then I would recommend it: the band’s live reputation is legendary; the boys put on a hell of a show. With Perfect Holiday fresh in the minds, it will be interesting to see what happens next- whether the band are going to rest or pound the tarmac instantly. The lads deserve a rest: their E.P. is the summation of endless hard work and effort; fettling and perfecting- making sure it is the very best it can be. Brimming with quality songs and memorable moments, the future looks very positive- and will be great to see what comes next. Of course there will be (a lot more) music afoot: I am curious whether the boys will decide to record an L.P. – record a 10 or 11-track album and expand upon their sound. It is great to see Los and the Deadlines again; I am always cheered when they release new material- their current effort is the perfect soundtrack to the summer. Complete with epic riffs and stunning moments; cutting lyrics and anthemic performances, here’s a band that will go the distance- their music can be appreciated by all. If you are looking for a new band- one that will keep coming back/last the distance- and a unique sound, then get on board with Los’- ignore them at your peril. In (a music industry) where there are predictable evils- the rise and success of mediocre and horrendous Pop acts- and unpredictable moments- great bands splitting- Los and the Deadlines are calm waters- dip your toes in. Sit back, relax and breathe: and let their music…
BLOW you away.
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