Dany Laj & The Looks “Alive & Kicking”
Dany Laj & The Looks are a brand new band to us but this is actually their fourth release. We’re somewhat surprised we haven’t heard of them before as their sound is described as being ‘catchy power-pop’ and will lead to the listener ‘immediately bopping their heads and tapping their toes’. That combined with references to tunesmiths like Nick Lowe and Paul Westerberg suggest this will be very much our cup of tea.
First song “Defending Champion” starts things off with a Costello esque, modern, pop/rock number. It’s a good indicator of things to come but there is more of a punk ‘kick’ to songs like “Diamond In The Rough” and “Mad World”. Although, essentially, these are power pop songs. They’re the sort of catchy tracks which could easily feature on a major picture soundtrack. A particular highlight is “Mister Screaming Attitude”, a perfect example of how to balance a rocking sound with a superbly catchy melody.
That’s not to say the album is without diversity. “Mixing A Drink” provides a neat mid album interlude. It adds a more ‘sixties’ flavour to the sound which will appeal to Jellyfish fans. Along with “Sweet Pretender” these are really just good old pop songs.
There have been quite a few really great power pop albums recently, by the likes of Ryan Allen and Nick Piunti for example. This album is very much along the lines of their releases. The approach of the album is summed up pretty well by “Planet Of Fun”. Songs like “Remember When” and “Till The Darkness Goes” take a power pop framework but just add an additional bit of punk spirit. The result is to give the songs a more modern edge.
The power pop genre is one which seems to be an almost underground scene these days and not with much exposure. Which is weird really as what’s not to like about songs with a big pop sound and huge ‘commercial’ potential? It’s perhaps more widely recognised in the US, where they have the weather and the AM radio stations to support these breezy upbeat songs. Regardless of that, if you are in need of another high quality pop/rock album then this is definitely one to add to your collection.