Friday, October 22, 2021

Midcentury Llama Look To Have Fun In Debut Self-Titled Album

In a world wracked by very serious issues, Midcentury Llama is here to give everyone a much-needed lift with their self-titled debut album, which is set to be released on October 22nd. Keeping it short and sweet, this half hour album is a joy to behold - due both to the composition of the band and their novel approach in the music industry: they make music to have fun.

In the purest, simplest beginnings, Midcentury Llama began as a passion project of three childhood best friends: Sam Okrent, Eric Gantner, and Frank O’Meara.

Growing up together, these three saw each other develop as musicians, but it wasn’t until they found themselves in Chicago and joined forces with Sam Macduffie and Nick Witek that they achieved the full sound they have now.

The album kicks off with ‘Stranger’. In an interesting move, their instrumentals sound more like a jam session than they do a structured piece, making it feel like you’ve walked into their band rehearsal. Not to say that their songs don’t have structure, their hooks give them grounding and something to sing along to. Their music is just more fun to listen to this way. Stranger’ gives a good indication of what can be expected throughout the rest of the album: harmonies, saxophone, dynamic vocals and relatable lyrics.

Meet Your Ghost’ has a quality reminiscent of Gabe Dixon -- perfect for a road trip soundtrack. The use of harmonies is excellent throughout the album but is especially noticeable in this track when it picks up towards the middle with accents from the saxophone. As you move towards the middle of the album, more elements are introduced. ‘Oh Love’ is a sweet declaration of passion and harmonies are used to bolster this as the song builds towards the bridge. The saxophone solo and bass note harmonies in ‘Oh Love’ definitely gave this tune some flare and added an old school sound. The Casio-tones of ‘Layla’ were a great lead in and has some of the best vocals on the album. They are in places reminiscent of Counting Crows and one can definitely feel some older rock influence throughout the album.

Charlie from Chicago’ is the band’s foray into lyrical narrative. Hard to get right, this kind of writing is most common in country music, however the lyrics are more of a combination between country and songs like ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’ by The Temptations. This song is the most robust sounding, and one gets the impression this would be fun to hear played live. Closing track of the album, ‘I Get Confused’ leads in with a guitar riff that immediately brings up memories of listening to ‘Message In A Bottle’ by The Police. That being said, it’s not a copycat number. It has an individual sound, pulling in a lot of influences but never oversaturating the listener with them.

The album’s most recent single, ‘Look To You’ is a standout with the ringing tones of the guitar and vocals that contrast these well. This song has something nostalgic about it. The musical arrangement definitely speaks to the early 90s and the lyrics are deeply relatable to all those finding themselves independent of another person. Casting images of sitting on rooftops and new horizons, it’s the definitive track of this album.

Those using music as a form of escapism, look no further, Midcentury Llama have got that covered. Even relatable themes that may not be too pleasant are packaged in such a way that you can’t help but bop along.

We all need a little less doom in our lives, so why not take a half hour out of your day to lend an ear to Midcentury Llama’s ‘Midcentury Llama’, out on October 22nd.

Chloe Boehm


Image: Provided by Midcentury Llama

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