The LaFontaines – Common Problem

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

http://www.thelafontaines.co.uk/    https://www.facebook.com/thelafontainesmusic   https://twitter.com/TheLaFontaines

Pete RingMaster 31/10/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

The LaFontaines – Class

The LaFontaines_ Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review

Tagged as Scotland’s biggest independent band, there is no doubting that anticipation for The LaFontaines’ debut album has been in full swing on the back of acclaimed releases and a live presence seeing the band headline shows in New York, tour the UK and Europe with Watsky, and play their biggest headline sold out show to date at Glasgow’s ABC amongst numerous successes. The majority of that happened in a triumphant 2014 for the band but it is easy to expect bigger, more forceful spotlights upon the band in this with the release of the thrilling and fascinating Class.

static1.squarespace.com_ Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review   Formed in 2010, the Motherwell hailing quintet first snatched attention with the All She Knows EP in 2013, following its success the following year with the similarly eagerly received Under The Storm EP. The absorbing diversity and sounds of the Matt O’Grady (You Me At Six/Don Broco) produced Class now blends the qualities of those previous releases with a new adventure of invention and enterprise. It is at times a startling release, persistently a striking one, and even when its persuasive energy slips a touch, album and indeed band just enthral as they brew up an impassioned and tenacious incitement. The words of frontman Kerr Okan probably describes it best when he says, “We’ve spent the past 3 to 4 years leading up to this point. Everything we’ve seen on the road or experienced together as a band has finally made its way onto record. It’s guaranteed to shock those who assume we’re simply just the best live band in Scotland. There’s so much depth to these songs, a load of pain and struggle, but underlying throughout all of the writing, is some real grit and determination.

There can be few albums this year with as rousing a start as Class offers through Slow Elvis. From a distance the song looms on ears, hitting them on arrival with pungent anthemic rhythms and fiery riffs. It is not particularly aggressive or explosive yet within seconds the opener has ears and appetite seriously aroused and hanging onto its swing. Spatial sonic endeavour fills air quickly too, surrounding the swaggering vocal rap of Okan as bass and drums intensify their bait with a snarl and punchy attitude. Additional vocal calls and melodic revelry only adds to the incendiary brew, the track evolving into a Rage Against The Machine meets Lazy Habits encounter wrapped in the sultry hues of Muse.

The sensational start is quickly backed by the similarly electrifying Under The Storm, a burst of guitar sparking handclaps and melodic vocals with fire in their breath. The track is soon shrugging off any restraint and with sinews flexing, it strides resourcefully through ears behind scythes of guitar and bass which in turn are led by the stirring mix of clean and rap cast vocals from bassist John Gerard and Okan respectively. Though openly unique compared to its predecessor, that description of references again applies, and like the first song is twisted into something unique to The LaFontaines. Unpredictability also is a ripe asset to both songs, and indeed the album, that and the great Scottish lilt fuelling the jabbing potency of the rapping.

     The album’s title track comes next, a gentle caress of melodic temptation crooning over the senses as rhythms fling their enticement around in a robust dance. Once more the mix of vocals is a magnetic tempting in the indie seeded and lively serenade of the song, the melodic lure of Gerard as potent as the creative jangle of guitar from Iain Findlay and Darren McCaughey. Revealing more of the depth and imagination in the band’s songwriting and sound alone, it is replaced and emulated by Castles. This too has a reserved touch yet its heart is a blaze of sonic expression and evocative intensity. A sizzling start slips into a mellower embrace around Okan’s delivery, both taking ears and thoughts by the hand and leading them into new eruptions of emotional drama. Without quite matching the plateau of the first few tracks, the song easily steals full attention with its Biffy Clyro meets The Kennedy Soundtrack like canvas evolved into something distinct to this new breed of Scottish rock ‘n roll.

King steps up next, its great bluesy guitar twang an immediate tasty enticing to which a throaty bass groan from Gerard and the punchy spits of Okan bring their own irresistible tempting. Featuring guests Luke Prebble and Michael Sparks, the song whilst wrapped in the tangy keys of McCaughey and vocal harmonies prowls rhythmically and emotionally. Gospel like in ambience, mischievous in imagination, the track has ears and appetite hungry, their need fulfilled by Junior Dragon. Not for the first or last time, drummer Jamie Keenan stirs up body and emotions with his skilled incitement from which the song exposes an even grittier and volatile side to the band’s sound. Arctic Monkeys like in devilry, Freeze The Atlantic like in energy, and Able Archer like in creative grandeur, the track grows into a rich bellow of voice and sound for another major highlight of Class.

A fiercely shimmering persuasion comes with All Gone next, another with a predacious edge to its rhythms and character backed by a great rapping stroll from Okan but maybe for the only time on the album a strong impact slips as the melodic and harmonic side of the song flows. Nevertheless the track captivates and solidly pleases if without finding the spark which ignited earlier songs, an ingredient the outstanding Window Seat has in strength. A more smouldering persuasion, it takes time to reveal all its rich levels and qualities but over time becomes a mighty peak of the album. It is an intense slice of emotional balladry built on a muscular frame, this draped in quite superb and mesmeric vocal strengths. It might be ballad like but there is a tempest at its heart which makes the song a volcanic croon and just irresistible.

Enjoyable but less dramatically engrossing is All She Knows, an easy going and arguably formula song in respect to the band’s songwriting. It is relatively unique to outside references but finds it difficult to stand out in the richness around it, though again to be fair the track is only enjoyment for ears, something which again applies to Paper Chase. Its eighties indie pop essences definitely add something fresh but once more the track struggles to linger like the insatiable successes elsewhere upon Class.

The album closes with the thick and shadow enriched caress of Pull Me Back, keys a melancholic but dramatic expression against the anthemic beats of McCaughey. They are a mere moment in the ever evolving landscape of the excellent song of course, every second, note, and syllable from across the band just inventive theatre.

It is a fine end to a thoroughly exciting release. Certainly there are moments when Class slips from its loftiest perch but it is generally down to the brilliance of some songs in comparison than the failures of others. As suggested, the first album from The LaFontaines has been long and greedily awaited and now here it undoubtedly lets no one down.

Class is available now via 889 Records from most online stores

http://www.thelafontaines.co.uk/   https://www.facebook.com/thelafontainesmusic

Ringmaster 17/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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