If you’re always California dreaming, it’s time to catch the Cali 4-piece The Allah Las’ wave. Self described as “A sound cultivated from the annals of California culture; the perfect mixture of the sands, the seas, the streets and cities of the golden state,” the band truly does strike a golden note with sweeping guitar rhythms and oceanic melodies, and that retro garage vibe that makes Bay Area music what it is. With a uniquely throwback sound, incredible debut LP, and tight live set, these guys are on their way to breaking big on the East Coast, too.
How soon are they going to blow up on this coast? Well, Allah Las sold out an early and late show at The Mercury Lounge last week. The crowd was bustling, full of all sorts of fans, and ones that danced about to the pretty rock songs that were meant for a rock’n’roll bonfire singalong. Allah Las is made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Miles Michaud, lead guitarist/vocalist Pedrum Siadatian, bassist/vocalist Spencer Dunham, and drummer/vocalist Matthew Correia. Yes, you read that right, there are four vocalists in this band, which leads to some seriously dimensional vocal tracks.
The band prides itself on its legitamitely retro sound. Their influences range from the UK’s The Yardbirds to Cali’s own The Byrds. It’s no wonder their band was formed when three out of the four members met while working at one of California’s finest record stores, Amoeba. Their debut LP, Allah Las, is full of throwback sounds, and to its significant credit, is recorded in a way that reflects their dedication to music of days past: while making the record, they used microphones made in 1953 to get the distinctly bluesy feel. To complicate the guitar parts, Pedrum Siadatian picks away a rhythm on a 12-string guitar. The lyrics are straightforward with the ink of reflection of men with heads on their shoulders.
Allah Las came out this time last year and has been stuck in my record player since them, spinning me up in its intoxicating psychedelic surf vibe. Standout songs on the album include the nostalgic love song “Vis-a-vis” in which drummer Matthew Correia traded places with Michaud and stood at the mic, casually jangling a tambourine, gazing out at the crowd and crooning sweetly of a love long past, “I’m not saying that things could have worked out find / it’s just want could have been keeps coming back to mind.” “Tell me” is a righteous letter of frustrations sung with a distinct flavor of bitterness in its blunt, but relatable lyrics, at once stating “Once I was upset, now I feel, feel good.” Another favorite is the fully instrumental and somewhat ominous “Sacred Sands” that alternates between rhythmic riffs and surf rock guitar solos.
Only their next record, which they’ve returned to their sandy shores to dive into, will tell what’s next for this extremely talented and utterly authentic garage rock band. We’re Cali dreaming it’s just as groovy.