LALA LALA: "THE DESTROYER"

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     Lillie West, frontwoman for fem-grunge three piece, Lala Lala, described her songwriting method to the Chicago Tribune  saying, “I like concise and to-the-point stuff and I think that's the role I'm embodying." This vibe is evident in any Lala Lala track, as all are defined by a strong, digestible message that works equally as a head bopper and a mind turner. West was born in London, spent her formative year in Los Angeles, and has now settled in Chicago where she attended the Art Institute. Inspired by her experiences with DIY culture in both LA and Chicago, she created Lala Lala.

     West spares no punches with her work as seen on her debut project, Sleepyhead, and the singles preceding it. Her songwriting is powerful, and you feel each of her verses. Lines like, “Thought you were a tattoo on my tongue, I held you close to me,” and “You hurt me everyday,” show her knack for raw, abrasive songwriting frequently dealing with toxic relationships and searching for pleasant love. The strongest moments from Sleepyhead are when West channels a frustrated stream of consciousness and says the things she can’t say to what she is frustrated about. The opening track, “Exorcism,’ is the most dialed in moment for this message and provides a image of exorcising these frustrations for the rest of the album. Other highlights include “Fuck With Your Friends” which served as her very first single, and “Okie Dokie Doggy Daddy,” which showcases her affinity for cadence and knack for a strong, grungy hook.

     Two years later, we have a release date and the lead single from upcoming LP The Lamb. What we have known between then and now is that the time between Sleepyhead and The Lamb has been turbulent for West as she experienced a break in, suffered the loss of a close friend, and began her journey towards sobriety. The band’s press release describes the inspiration for the new album in saying, “I started to frequently and vividly imagine the end of the world, often becoming too frightened to leave my house. This led me to spend a lot of time examining my relationships and the choices I’d made, often wondering if they were correct and/or kind.” West responds with a distinct toughness about her on this track, dealing with these issues head on.

     “Destroyer” confirms that The Lamb will deal with these traumatic events, although instead of writing about the dangers outside of her control like mortality, West’s first perspective from the new album is introspective. “Destroyer” initially feels like airing out bad blood after a nasty breakup with “You are the reason my heart broke behind my back.” Later though, West reveals that the track is about struggling to work with herself in saying, “does it make you sad that it’s all my fault?”

     In addition to a glimpse into the thematic impetus of the project, “Destroyer” suggests that, tonally, The Lamb is a bit more focused than her debut LP. Some of the broader brushstrokes on “Sleepyhead” like “Nothing” and “Bed” are traded for the almost voyeuristically sharp immersion into West’s personal struggles. A particularly tasty snare tone carries a mid tempo opening verse. Lala Lala also shows some different influences mingled into their palette. Some synths and vocal style used in the early stages remind of a little Siouxsie and the Banshees mixed in. As the opening verse develops, it begins slowly embering into an impassioned crescendo. West tears into the chorus, supported by the same synths that were teased to open the track. In addition to the chorus being much louder than the diminutive verses, the synths add depth to the mix, briefly stretching the sonic spectrum.

     This album is going to be very sick, and is currently sick with the release of this single. The Lamb is being released through Hardly Art on September 28, so please mark your calendar and support Lala Lala.

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NATHAN WHITTLE