Chris Richards and the Subtractions: Get Yer La La’s Out
Remember all the great power pop posing as alt-rock in the early 90’s? Even if you don’t, there was some really good stuff going out over the airwaves (this was pre-internet too) before the music business decided all it would back was rap, pseudo-grunge and boy bands.
Somebody sure remembers because that’s what Chris Richards and the Subtractions are all about. They also do it very well on their latest release “Get Yer La La’s Out.” There are plenty of retro bands out there that just make me want to play the originals instead. Not so with these guys. The music is more akin to a breath of fresh air with a heavy dose of nostalgia. Plus the songwriting is first rate. Don’t we all miss fun rock and roll that stands up to critical musical scrutiny? Sure some recent groups have offered up a song or two that meet the criteria, but here is an entire album’s worth.
Matthew Sweet was the first comparison that came to mind, especially with the guitar riffs. Then I saw the Big Star influence, a bit of the Lemonheads, a touch of Tom Petty and the occasional 70’s arena rock guitar thrown in just for kicks. “Get Yer La La’s Out” doesn’t let up either. With no ballads to be found, it is a concise 30 minutes of good rockin’. Perfect stuff for driving (with the top down in my case) and singing along. The brevity of the collection also keeps it from wearing thin. Far to many artists unnecessarily feel compelled to fill a CD to the brim. This band makes their stament and gets out. There is truth in the old showbiz axiom, “Always leave ‘em wanting more.”
If you think that I am biased because this is a band from Southeast Michigan, you are wrong. I had never heard of Chris Richards and the Subtractions until a friend recommended them (thanks Will). The close proximity is just icing on the cake because I will have convenient opportunities to see live performances. I may be heavily into more complex and avant-garde music but I love me some quality rock-n-roll as well. “Get Yer La La’s Out” is a fix for a jones I didn’t even realize I was experiencing
Chris Richards – guitars & vocals
Todd Holmes – bass
Larry Grodsky – drums & percussion
The Phenomenal Cats – backing vocals