Monday, June 7, 2010

Album Review: La Strada – New Home

I love this record. Love love love love love it. Did I mention that I love it? It’s just so…gosh darn cute (but not in a trite, twee way, just to be clear). If you’re not yet familiar with Brooklyn’s La Strada, may I be the first to do the introductions. This new record of theirs, New Home, is adorable, charming, enchanting, and utterly infectious. If you don’t love it by the time you’re done listening to it, I’m afraid to say your heart might be even colder and blacker than mine. New Home is one of the best and loveliest records of 2010, simple as, uniquely idyllic in that way that some big city bands have.

The pastoral romp begins immediately, as the band presents their record to the world with the effervescent and shining “Go Forward”. The guitar intro makes a slight nod to The Faces, but the rest of the song is the embodiment of sheer musical joy. I’ve listened to the song many times, and not once has it failed to elicit a smile. “Julia” makes me think of a favorable mix of bits and pieces of The Essex Green and Bishop Allen and The Shins, but it’s not derivative in the slightest. It’s a sweet, realistic love song, and it’s just plain irrepressible. The strings add a bittersweet poignancy to the sentiment of the song, and enhance the overall loveliness.

“Wash On By” is another rollicking little jangly pop song, uplifted by bouncy strings and an irresistible jauntiness. Oh my heavens, it’s a dream, a little piece of indiepop perfection. And rejoice, o you fans of the accordian. It plays a large part in the very appealing sound of “Baptism”, a rather crazy little pseudo Euro-folksy number (La Strada does DeVotchKa?). “My New Home” is yet another particularly noteworthy song, a fantastic little love song, gloriously sweeping and utterly impossible not to get the warm fuzzies for.

“There’s Only Love” begins with accordion play that makes me think of bagpipes, so naturally I love it. Oh, and there’s some pretty good harmonizing, too, if you’re into that kind of thing. The song crashes immediately into the longest song on New Home, “The Mountain Song”. It’s somewhat pensive, a departure from the sunny chirp (at least musically speaking) to be found on the majority of the album. Not to be outdone, “The Wedding Song” comes next, and the slightly twanging guitar sure does get my little heart pitter-pattering. And surprise, it’s another great song. Sorry to sound like a broken record, my dearest darlings, but New Home is really just that good. I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about it, and am having to restrain myself from totally letting the floodgates of gushery open wide.

It’s a rather long record, and for that I say hallelujah. I’d be ever so glum if it was any shorter. As it is now, I still can’t get enough. A word to the wise: keep your eyes and ears peeled for La Strada, friends, because you might just be hearing a lot more about them. Making music this good, it would be an absolute travesty if you didn’t. But in the meantime, do yourself a favor and begin listening to New Home immediately. What are you waiting for?

mp3: Go Forward (La Strada from New Home)

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