It is fair to say that the debut album from Scottish rock band The LaFontaines was an adventure of imagination and diversity which in varying degrees captivated from start to finish. Released two years back, Class was a magnet to acclaim and a new rush of eager fans but we can tell you now it was just the appetiser to a big, bolder, and more creatively eclectic triumph in the shape of its successor, Common Problem.
As maturity has grown in their songwriting and imagination loaded sound so has a darker attitude and reflective snarl upon the world and its issues. It is a tone which lines every note and word but seems to only accentuate every imaginative twist and turn going to make one striking and increasingly addictive release. Its predecessor saw Motherwell hailing The LaFontaines break the UK Top 100 and Scottish Top 10 as well as top the UK Indie Breakers chart. As mentioned, it was a potent lure for attention, receiving over three million plays on Spotify alone, but easy to feel just the appetiser to bigger success with Common Problem.
Recorded with producer Joe Cross (The Courteeners), the album immediately invade ears with sound and lyrical bite as Explosion looms over the senses. The snarl lined attack of rapper/vocalist Kerr Okan is direct and magnetic, and swiftly matched in the brooding drama of the sounds around him. The song is soon a web of intrigue and suggestion, a tempestuous aural clamour which devours as it seduces the senses. It takes no prisoners yet is a seductive invitation which fascinates at every turn with that new invention and growth in ideation at already work.
The following Too Late makes a calmer start, electronic lures aligned with Okan’s spits as it slowly but firmly entices. The melodic vocals of bassist John Gerard perfectly court and contrast the attack of the frontman, his bass and the guitar of Darren McCaughey casting their increasingly antagonistic enterprise around a rhythmic trespass cast by drummer Jamie Keenan. As the first, it is pure temptation taking the imagination to dark corners with relish and insight before Common Problem pulls them into its warmer melodic stroll with its title track. A recent single, the song flows like a sun kissed river with more intimidating undercurrents lurking through the vocal prowess and words of Okan, a combination forging one virulently infectious proposal which soon infests body and spirit.
Next up, Torture has a crystalline like shine to its melodic sheen, various facets reflecting emotion and thoughts in its harmonic embrace with Gerard’s tones a warm caress alongside the honesty bold contemplation of Okan. As with its predecessor, it is impossible not to be swept up in its creative arms, to immerse in its atmospheric depths and McCaughey’s electronic web before the harsher rock ‘n’ roll of Hang Fire grips. With flirtatious hooks and irritable rhythms, the track instantly stirs up attitude and pleasure; the two pronged vocal temptation with Gerard especially striking, irresistible. There is creative theatre in every breath and sound of the track but all born in an instinctive aggression and emotive fire which aims at and hits its target dead centre.
Through the smouldering but lively heat and angst of Goldmine and the rousing rock ‘n’ roll of Armour the hold on ears and imagination is only tightened, the first a consumption of sound and enterprise which haunts long after its fiercely pleasing presence and the second a slice of alternative cored rock which prowls and almost menaces as electronic and melodic spicing explore its rapacious climate. Both tracks push the band’s creative boundaries and the already lofty heights of the album though they are still eclipsed by the vivacious and lively antics of Atlas. Magnetic from the off, addictive soon after, the track is a kaleidoscope of sound and adventure which becomes more contagious and seductive melody by melody, twist by twist.
Raw and angry, What Do I Know makes an equally mighty impact with its ferocious punk ‘n’ roll. The union of grumpy bass and intrusive beats with Okan’s uncompromising intent is alone an inescapable draw but add the sonic fire of the guitars and the snarling vocal presence of Gerard and a major highlight is forged which next up Total Control cannot quite match though it certainly keeps things burning brightly with its own fusion of melodic suggestion and voracious heavy rock. Every song is a web of invention and sonic enterprise dosed with an array of flavours; its own an unpredictable maze with all avenues leading to unbridled pleasure before Release The Hounds springs its own powerful and voracious fire for a glorious invasion of the senses.
The album is brought to a close by the nagging exploits of Asleep, a track which has the listener feeing like it is prey to its predatory instincts and creative hunger. With a rhythmic jungle and sonic maelstrom, the track is stunning, Okan leading its hungry tango with lyrical gusto as every member and instrument within the band colludes in one beast of a temptation ultimately talking best track honours.
As potent and exciting as Class was, it has been blown away by Common Problem; as too most releases venturing out this year. The LaFontaines have grabbed one of the reins guiding the British rock scene with their new essential and unique proposal yet you just feel they have only scratched the surface of their imagination and craft to raise the anticipation for their nest move tenfold.
Common Problem is out now via Wolf At Your Door Records, available @ http://hyperurl.co/TheLaFontainesCP
The LaFontaines UK Headline Tour:
13th November 2017 – Lending Room, Leeds
14th November 2017 – Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff
15th November 2017 – Sound Control, Manchester
16th November 2017 – MK11, Milton Keynes
18th November 2017 – Barrowlands, Glasgow
19th November 2017 – Northumbria Institute 2, Newcastle
20th November 2017 – O2 Academy 3, Birmingham
21st November 2017 – Boston Music Room, London
22nd November 2017 – Leadmill, Sheffield
23rd November 2017 – Rock City, Nottingham
Pete RingMaster 31/10/2017
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