Review: La-Di-Da – Suburban Plea

La-Di-Da are Pennsylvanian duo Brandon Bigos and Taylor Johnson. Based on the themes of their debut album they are lost souls, dreaming of romance and escape and yet never quite bothering to get out of their beds to do anything about it. Never mind, they have at least managed to put their ideas on record and some of the songs are really rather good.

La-Di-Da Album Cover

Early indications imply that La-Di-Da are a lo-fi indie rock act with echoes of early Beck. Their slacker ideals are encapsulated perfectly on the title track which includes the line “My identity means nothing, so why do I seem to care?”. Given the low-slung, shoulder-shrugging atmosphere of the record, there are times when you wonder whether La-Di-Da actually do care. ‘My Brother’ and ‘Fishing’ both feature unnecessary laughing from the protagonists and the songs themselves don’t seem to have been taken too seriously either.

Yet there is sonic gold to be found here. On ‘Let’s Go Someplace Nice’ they go from uninterested verses to breaking out into a sweetly addictive chorus. ‘Vicarious Me’ matches the wit and quirks of Pavement. Their finest song is ‘Anagrams’. The usual air of resignation is present and correct in the lyrics (“Everyday we seem the same. Everyday we stay insane”) but they’re encased in a beautifully, dreamy arrangement, the vocals (including falsetto harmonies) for once have an emotional ache and suddenly the band have a an alternative anthem on their hands. This moment also leads into a fantastically-layered instrumental called ‘Cold Goodbye’ and later on, the piano-led ‘Already Famous’ and nocturnally-themed ‘Good Morning, Sleep Tight’ are sprinkled with melodic fairy dust.

‘Suburban Plea’ could have been an excellent 30 minute mini-album but instead it can be a frustrating listening experience. So, much like a pair of talented but demotivated students, when Bigos and Johnson stir themselves they sound like they can rise above their slacker ethos and become a band to be genuinely excited about.

Web Sites:
Album Stream for La-Di-Da – Suburban Plea

Further Listening:
Beck, Pavement, Fantasy Rainbow, Bihari Beach

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