At first glance, LAL is a melancholic, enthusiastically drained version of The XX. The overall lack of instrumentation draws on how much better her vocals could have been presented, if only they weren’t solely accompanied by tribal drums rolls and the occasional hand clap. From there on in, I’d love to profess that the album blossoms into an outstanding masterpiece to be honoured forever more, and put on the plaque with Beethoven’s 5th and Bohemian Rhapsody. Unfortunately, that would be a defiant lie.
Call me misanthropic, but this album does absolutely nothing for me. The vocals lack range and diversity, and the very same goes for the supporting backline: dull. It’s as if LAL has clambered inside a loaded cannon, bound for that realm of kooky alternativeness and overshot it by about a thousand miles.
There are certain tracks that could go down a storm with the right crowd, I suppose. ‘Look Behind’ has quite a catchy chorus, but is very repetitive and resolves in what sounds like a 12″ record skipping back and forth, concluding in just about nothing. I found ‘Red Rooms’ interesting (in its title, not so much its context), and began to wonder if there’s more to this artist that first meets the ear holes.
The word LAL is directly derived from the Indo-Iranian word for ‘red’, and is quite a common middle name for South Asian communities, meaning either ‘friend’ or ‘queen’, depending on the context. Of course, this bares zero relevance to the music, merely an observation. I digress.
If I had to sum this album up within a 140 characters (which is apparently the done thing these days), it would read: “LAL, a complete enigma – not going anywhere fast. Adele, you’ve got nothing to worry about, love”.
Written by Ross Campbell