La De Les- Carlo
Record Label: Independent
Release Date: April 20, 2012
Itís great learning about yourself. I donít mean in the after school special ďLetís learn about your changing bodies kids!Ē sort of way. Iím talking about when you can assess one small part of your personality and then realize how it reflects a broader part of your personality. For example, I recently discovered how much I appreciate structure through looking at my evolving taste in music. My musical horizons have expanded a lot since I started university: Iíve gone from listening to exclusively pop-punk/emo/metal/hardcore to also listening to indie, post-rock, folk, and even rap (high school me would be pissed). While Iíve grown to appreciate all these different genres, I recognize that to a certain extent thereís an aspect of definition and structure in all of these genres that appeals to the left side of my brain. I suppose thatís what has made writing a review for La De Lesí second album, Carlo, so damn difficult. When you are so used to certain things, experiencing something thatís different usually leaves you initially speechless.
This is by no means a bad thing. And letís be clear, just because there seems to be an apparent lack of structure, doesnít mean these songs are not structured. Brothers Cody and Aaron Nicolas are both Berklee students so Iím pretty sure their knowledge about structure and music composition is streets ahead of mine. It sure shows in the technicality of their musicianship. But those looking for the typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus song format will be, as I was, in for a pleasant surprise. The other thing that initially confounded me about the album was how much the songs blended together. Now, I usually prefer an album that can maintain a good mix of variety while staying within a clearly defined genre. Carlo does the latter better than the former, but I didnít really care. The Nicolas brothers and Aaronís wife Jocelyn have not simply crafted good songs that sound similar, but individual tracks that form a grander, luscious, soundscape. La De Les will calm and soothe you one moment with ethereal, atmospheric, echoic tones and soprano vocals and then elicit unbridled passion from within you with their driving, crescendoing melodies and urgent bellows. While the songs are varied enough to stand on their own, to not listen to the album from start to finish would be to do it injustice. Carlo is a fine example of an album that one needs to be immersed in from beginning to end. And with six songs clocking in at under thirty minutes, thatís not a difficult task.
If I had the opportunity to go back in time ten years ago, and give myself a piece of advice, I would tell 13 year old Jonathan to, aside from start training right away to be Batman, be open to different music genres and styles and actively seek out new music. He probably would have tried to mosh me into submission (the little turd). But I can at least be grateful, that I was able to broaden my horizons when it comes to music. Had I not, I might have missed out on this gem. I urge you, do not make that mistake.