3 Song Demo - Lola In Slacks
Lola In Slacks is a very new band which is starting to cause a stir in Glasgow; there's somewhat of a sense of mystery around this ambitious, literate outfit.
Charismatic singer Lou Reid (!) is the focal point, with songwriting partner and guitarist Brian McFie providing skilful garage grind and spiraling melody. Lesley McLaren has a growing reputation in her own right as a great rock 'n' roll drummer, and the band is fleshed out by Davy Irvin on bass, Villy Karagouni on keyboards and Martin Stuart Taggart on additional guitar.
These three demo songs comprise the only material so far released by the band, but they make a startling impression; this is classy, timeless music; in terms of lyric-writing, comparisons with Patti Smith, Dylan and Jim Carroll spring to mind; allusions to cult Beat writer Alexander Trocchi and controversial author Vladimir Nabokov are immediately apparent, and The Glasgow Boys artistic scene also makes a lyrical cameo. Not your average band, then.
Reid has an intriguing command over her vocal accents and inflections, subtly twisting from tender to declamatory within the same line. Brian McFie's music is similarly eloquent; False Lines is a glorious garage rocker which derives its power from a teasing sense of anticipation, ultimately delivering a glorious crescendo at the release. Trocchi's Canal, meanwhile, takes the beautifully crafted song-writing of Reid and McFie into another realm, a strand of romantic adventurism which is a precious rarity in these times, while the stillness at the centre of Bisous du Mistral suggests blissfully frozen moments of reverie.
These are beautiful songs which provoke a sudden desire to crack open a bottle of Bordeaux, crank up the stereo and escape from the mundanities of existence, if only for a few moments. At some stages in our lives, that kind of reaction can be revelatory, a reminder that there is more to life than death and taxes, no matter how often these grim perennials can seem to engulf and obliterate us.
There is romance and longing here, escape and remembrance; imagine a voice that effortlessly fuses Marianne Faithfull and Eartha Kitt, fronting a crack band with the sexy garage swagger of the Velvets but the bold confidence and freedom of Tim Buckley. It often seems that great singers are a thing of the past, with current trends for shrill over-emoting or faux-naivety taking precedence over genuinely compelling, purposeful singers. Lou Reid is such a singer; her vocal delivery has all the complexity and fascination of a fine single malt whisky, leading the listener to ponder the life experiences that inform the intrigue and adventure contained in these songs.
It's a long time since I've heard demos of this high quality; credit must also be given to the highly professional yet understated and sympathetic production of Mick MacNeil, clearly an excellent match for the group and a producer whose services should be retained if at all possible.
I'm holding my breath for an entire album at the same level of quality as these demos; reports from live appearances of Lola In Slacks strongly suggest that the band already has a full album's worth of great songs ready to record. This promises to be something very special indeed.
Lola In Slacks on Facebook Facebook
Live sessions on Clyde 2 Radio with Billy Sloan are here