8. Looking Glass - The Las (The Las, 1990)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjo9CwDKRls
Trawl through any Best of the 90s CD, or worse, watch one of those One Hit Wonder video compilations on the basest of music channels and Ill lay bets that the Liverpool groups There She Goes is sitting somewhere on each. To everyone but aural appreciators, its the only song that The Las ever wrote, end of story, goodbye. Its a sad truth that would make me throw my laptop angrily against the wall and spit out my tea if I werent so ruddy, bloody British. But to those of us with more than a passing interest in recorded sound, we know this to be a falsity of the most scandalous proportions! The Las, finally released by Go Discs! after four-years of trying and notoriously perfectionist band leader, Lee Mavers, burning through a veritable collection of disgruntled producers, is a mercurial masterpiece that overspills with first-rate song-writing, enchanting melodies and 60s-inspired sounds.
Opener Son of a Gun dabbles in folk balladry, Liberty Ship is a good old-fashioned sea-shanty whilst the blistering likes of I Cant Sleep and Feelin add a rockier vibe to the albums acoustic-orientated proceedings. Crafted by a line-up that chopped and changed as much as the albums producers, Mavers and his one constant, bass player, John Power, harmonise effortlessly on each track and in their innate chemistry had the beginnings of a relationship that could have blossomed into one of a Lennon and McCartney magnitude were it not for Mavers unachievable, unquenchable vision and his subsequent monomaniacal attempts to realise it.
Looking Glass takes all of the albums creative highs (of which there is an abundance) and distils Mavers perfect pop sensibilities into a lengthy and epic closer. Fittingly, the Las leaders lyrics explore the deepest recesses of his own personality and provide a study of the artist as a tortured, self-destructive soul, holding a looking glass up to the singers ragged visage and asking it to tell me where Im going, tell me where Im bound. An almost self-aware perpetuating of his own revered mythos, the smashing of the Looking Glass hints at Mavers enigmatic nature, how his fragile personality can never be pieced together and fully understood.
He may endlessly deny it, and be forever striving to release a version of the album that he is happy with, but Looking Glass cements Mavers status as a musical visionary and alchemist. As soaring guitars and quickened drumming augment his insistence that the change is cast at the songs crescendo, it calls back to some of the albums previous songs with lyrical snippets abounding to suggest that Mavers genius is ubiquitous and omnipotent. As Bob Dylan once declared Ive got a head full of ideas and its driving me insane, a remark that would make for a fitting epitaph if The Las is Lees only major label release. A portrait of a man so defiant and committed to replicating the sounds in his head, that he may indeed die for his art.