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The Laissez Fairs - “Target On My Back” (2017) review


The Laissez Fairs - Target On My Back (Birs Recordings, 2017)

A wonderful psychedelic mod rock band from Las Vegas, NV, The Laissez Fairs, namely John Fallon and Joe Lawless, follow up to their 2016 self-titled debut release with this ten track slab of gorgeous tunes on the Birs Recordings label. The album is comprised of nine band originals and a wonderful cover of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Nightbird” all performed with zest and incredible enthusiasm.

“Target On My Back” is largely the writing work of vocalist/guitarist/bassist/drummer John Fallon who contributes seven tunes, with vocalist/12 string guitarist/bassist//keyboardist Joe Lawless writing two tunes and the album closer, and the only cover song found here, was penned by Anton Newcombe. The album was recorded at Lawless Noise and Visions in Las Vegas by Fallon and Lawless and was produced by Harrison Clock and The Laissez Fairs.

The album opens with the title track, a Fallon composition, featuring gorgeous vocals, a fine 12- string performance by Lawless, a tasteful lead guitar line, and a driving beat featuring drum work reminiscent of The Who. The song definitely sets the tone for the LP. “I’ve Got You” one of Lawless’ contributions features a 12-string intro which brings The Byrds’ psychedelic era immediately to mind. Stinging lead guitar and nicely echoed vocals fill out the sound on this number. “Winter’s Dying” is a delicate melody with a gentle acoustic guitar intro supplemented by gorgeous vocals and organ work. “Mother Told Me” is quite a contras,t with its heavy fuzz guitar intro, driving wah wah and killer lead guitar line throughout. This hot rocker features an incredible guitar solo and also includes nicely echoed vocals and gorgeous organ. At just under six minutes it is the LP’s longest track and definitely one of its highlights. Side one closes with the snappy three minute rocker “He’s Your Replacement” with its pleasant mix of guitar and organ and includes another impressive guitar solo. This is definitely one of my personal favorites from the album and there is an impressive video on YouTube that accompanies the track.

Side two opens with the short, sweet, blazing rocker “Bells Ring Out” a Lawless tune with roaring guitars, another gorgeous solo and a driving beat. The short, just over two minutes, “Broken Man” is a classic. The lead line, supplemented by electric sitar and 12-string guitar, is wonderful. The song has a great hook, and its accessible sound gives it commercial appeal and it would have been a natural selection as an AM radio single in days gone by. The five-minute plus Beatlesque “Waiting For Tomorrow” opens with keyboards and guitars. The insistent, heavy lead line has gorgeous 12-string guitar under it, and the tune features yet another hot guitar solo. The lyrics are reminiscent of classic 60s psych, “Why can’t I die today? Cause I’m waiting for tomorrow.” Another heavy rocker “Summer Comes” is next up, its crisp, clean lead guitar and lovely solo complimented by trumpet and keyboard contributions as well as some very nice percussion. The album closes with an impressive cover of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s “Nightbird” and is led by jangling guitar and organ. Still another guitar solo soars over the top of the sound and this would have been another natural for selection as a single release back in the days when AM radio ruled the music industry. There is a gorgeous black and white video of this tune on YouTube that listeners will enjoy greatly. With this tune “Target On My Back” draws to a wonderful close, a perfect ending for a fine sophomore effort by the band.

The packaging of “Target On My Back” is completed by the inclusion of the lyrics, a most welcomed addition. The album’s cover photograph is by Sandy Fleming and additional art and design is courtesy of Jeremy Kortes. “Target On My Back” is still in print and comes most highly recommended. Pick up your copy today as this album, which comes with a free mp3 download code, sounds absolutely incredible on vinyl and documents The Laissez Fairs at their best.


-Kevin Rathert
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