By JENNIFER KELLY
The Allah Las weren’t even born when their late-1960s sound was first devised, when bands like the Pretty Things, Chocolate Watchband and the West Coast Pop Art Experiment shined a sunshiny light through the drone and shamble of early rock and roll. No, they learned the Nuggets style by listening to records, apparently. All four members of this two-guitar, bass, drums outfit worked at Amoeba at one point. You can imagine them one-upping each other at the store turntable with dog-eared, day-glo colored albums that splice minor chord melancholy with jangly euphoria, tambourine slapping hedonism with moody surf licks. And then in the practice space trying those tricks with their own instruments, infusing the echo and fuzz of Nixon-era rebellion with fresher, sunnier tones.
The songs on this second full-length fluctuate between airy, harmonized janglers like “Buffalo Nickel” and darker, dronier VU-into-Jesus and Mary Chain-ish numbers (“Had It All” “Nothing to Hide”). The single, “501-415” is a bit of an anomaly, its spoke-sung drawl slicing through chaotic snarls of fuzz bass and abstract jitters of guitar. It’s unsettling, jarring, not at all nostalgic and, quite possibly, the most striking track from the disc.
Instrumental interludes pop up occasionally, some of them sporting a bit of malleted percussion, others showcasing pedal steel (an instrument that also figures in the Sadies-esque “Better Than Mine”). These lyric-less cuts are among the album’s most appealing, especially driving, Venture-ish “No Werewolf” and the luminous “Yemeni Jade” which leads into (and shares key ideas with) the title track.
Worship the Sun has the lemonade-y ambiguity of all good pop. You can’t tell, from note to note, verse to chorus, whether it is essentially happy or sad. Sure there is a breezy insouciance in the single “Buffalo Nickel,” with its lofting “bu-bu-baaah” vocal flourishes, its light-dappled guitar jangle. Yet the song has a contemplative vibe. It obsesses, lyrically, over a relationship that doesn’t exist anymore. “If I could just forget all this love I have…only for you, girl,” sings Miles Michaud, his nostalgia for the girl perhaps mixing and reinforcing your own nostalgia for the music he and his crew reference. It’s a shimmery, buoyant kind of sadness you feel, for things that are out of reach, but not quite out of memory.
DOWNLOAD: “Buffalo Nickel,” “501-415”