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INTRODUCING

The La's: Just Four Lads From Liverpool

June 02, 1991|STEVE HOCHMAN

Band: The La's.

Personnel: Lee Mavers, vocals, guitar; John Power, bass; Neil Mavers, drums; Cammy, guitar.

History: First the name: It's not what follows do-re-mi-fa-so , but the Liverpudlian vernacular for lads . That's just what the band is--four la's from the streets of Liverpool. Lee Mavers and Power hooked up in 1986, and after recruiting two other musicians, they recorded just three singles in three years, fueling word-of-mouth acclaim in the British underground. In 1989 Lee's brother Neil and guitarist Cammy came on to make the current lineup. Steve Lillywhite, who'd worked with U2, XTC and many others, produced the debut album, "The La's," released last year in England by independent Go! Discs and in the United States this spring on London Records.

Sound: Just knowing the band's from Liverpool conjures some fairly accurate images, and the La's sunny, skiffly style could almost have fit in the '60s Mersey Beat explosion. Casting off the gloom and dance styles of latter-day Liverpool's Echo and the Bunnymen in favor of simpler, unvarnished guitar-pop, the La's makes a good alternative to the hazy Manchester sound and the noisy flights of Ride, Lush et al. now dominating Britain's alternative rock scene. If the song "Timeless Melody" falls just short of its title claim, "There She Goes" boasts a tune that crackles with the youthful excitement of the early Undertones. At its best the album sounds like it was made up on the spot by la's who can't believe how lucky they are to get to make music.

Tour plans: A summer U.S. tour will include the Backdoor in San Diego on June 17 and the Henry Fonda Theatre on June 18.

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