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The La's

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When the La's released their debut album in 1990, it made immediate waves in the British pop scene, as well as American college radio. Drawing from the hook-laden, ringing guitars of mid-'60s British pop as well as the post-punk pop of the Smiths, the La's' self-titled first album had a timeless, classic feel. It seemed like effortless music, yet that was not the case. From their inception in 1986, lead singer/guitarist/songwriter Lee Mavers was a perfectionist with a nearly obsessive eye for detail. Consequently, the La's were never able to totally fulfill their promise. Mavers formed the group in Liverpool with bassist John Power, guitarist Paul Hemmings, and drummer John Timson. On the strength of their demo tapes, Go! Discs signed the band in 1987, releasing the single "Way Out"; it received good reviews, yet it wasn't a chart success. Similarly, the following year's "There She Goes" received good press yet stalled on the charts. With a new lineup featuring bassist James Joyce, guitarist Cammy (born Peter James Camell), and Lee's brother Neil on drums, the La's began recording their debut album that same year. The record didn't appear until 1990. Even though Mavers claimed it was rush released, the Steve Lillywhite-produced The La's received glowing reviews and strong sales; a re-released "There She Goes" entered the U.K. Top 20 and hit number 49 in America. For most of 1991, the band was on tour. At the end of the year, they went back to the studio to record their follow-up. This time, Mavers was in complete control and he took his time to perfect the album, re-recording tracks and rewriting songs. The La's disappeared without a trace from the pop music scene. Mavers and a reconstituted band resurfaced in the spring of 1995, playing a handful of supporting concerts that featured a couple of new songs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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