LAL - LAL Album Review

LAL, a trio whose music could be unfairly brushed off as Toronto's equivalent to the trip-hop that emanated from Bristol with the success of groups such as Portishead and Massive Attack during the 90s and 2000s, however LAL is made up of a collective of musicians from Uganda, Bangladesh and Barbados who draw upon their individual heritage to at once create a self-deprecatingly euphoric mix of dub poetry, soul, folk, roots and jazz. This would be sufficient for many musicians; however making music to be enjoyed does not satisfy LAL's thirst as the lyrics that make up their work has a strong altruistic theme.

LAL consists of the dulcet tones of vocalist Rosina Kazi, laptop musician, Nicholas "Murr" Murray, and bassist Ian de Sousa who have developed a worldly sound over the past decade producing two full length albums including Warm Belly High Power (2004), which was awarded the best soul album in 2004 by Exclaim! and have performed a variety of festivals and impressive venues across Canada, Europe and Pakistan bearing testament to their wide ranging popularity no doubt a result of their skill as musicians and the broad appeal of the message they preach.

LAL's third and most recent album, Deportation (2008) dealt with the event surrounding the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the ensuing difficulties facing those of foreign origin, many being friends of the band. The group's latest self-titled LP LAL will no doubt touch the souls of many of those as it harps on about the widening chasm between the rich and poor despite the failed promises of America's latest line in below average Presidents Barak Obama. This latest LP is a damning essay on the society that LAL live in and it goes without saying that it burrows deep into the fabric of society with hearts burning with a desire for justice.

There is no doubt that LAL's latest lives up to expectations, and as has been hammered home it is true that their music benefits from both the musical heritage of the its' members and their experiences of division from the W.A.S.P. Canadians that take their position in society for granted.

Their ideologies though suffer from a philosophical naivete reminiscent of Lennon's Imagine. With a sample of their lyrics being "Let there be no poor/Let mother earth breathe free/We will not choose between debt and death/We want dignity, not bosses" it is all very heart warming and I would like to believe in an egalitarian society, but LAL are fighting corporate Canada/America and I doubt these songs will make a dent in the uncaring and overbearing Capitalist stronghold.