West Coast Sound
Dreamy Songs for a Drive Down Ventura Highway
If this album had arrived in May or June it would have never have been off the car stereo. Born in Denver, but now based in LA this is the singer-songwriter’s fifth album; yet I’ve never heard of him and nor have any of my muso friends, which is odd and disappointing as he’s got a rare talent.
The opening track West Coast Sound opens with some dirty Neil Young inspired guitar riffs then Laterzo’s glorious voice glides in like Sierra breeze and all work came to a standstill for the afternoon.
The next track, the atmospheric Tumbleweed opens with some sparkling acoustic guitar and pedal-steel before the song goes into early Eagles territory; but with David Crosby on vocals. Sometimes the stars align when I’m reviewing and that’s what happened here.
West Coast Sound is exactly what it says on the tin; and the alt-love songs like Someday Blue and the inspired Echo Park stand head and shoulders above a lot of similar Laurel Canyon Lite I’ve heard in the last couple of years and are as good as a lot of work the originators produced in those halcyon days of my youth.
I have no real idea what it’s about but the Country-Rock flavoured Subaru is a helluva ‘ear-worm’ and had my whispering the chorus later in the day much to the annoyance of Mrs. Magpie. Oh; there’s a lot more dirty, crunchy guitar here too.
My favourite track though is The Ray Bradbury; when Laterzo cranks his already sweet voice up an octave or two on a really special song; full of imagery, harmonies and the American Dream.
Sadly, after 35 minutes and only eight songs, West Coast Sounds comes to a close with the beautiful and windswept Chaperone; which takes all that is best from that West Coast/Laurel Canyon/Alt. Country has to offer and makes it all his very own.
The album had come and gone a few times on the player; but this morning after a week of Biblical storms the sun is shining and now Chris Laterzo has me remembering the lazy, hazy days of last Summer and hankering for the warm days that will follow Easter.
Released November 13th 2015