Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee: Los Angeles (Play It Again Sam) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Lol Tolhurst x Budgie x Jacknife Lee

Los Angeles

Play It Again Sam

Jan 22, 2024 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

If you think an album by two distinguished drummers—Lol Tolhurst (formerly of The Cure) and Budgie (formerly of Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Creatures)—would be a beat heavy sonic assault, you would be correct. If you pass on it because of this, it would be a big mistake. Los Angeles is beat heavy but it is also so much more. This is thanks mostly to producer and multi-instrumentalist Garret ‘Jacknife’ Lee and in part to some admirable and notable guests, including James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream), Arrow de Wilde (Starcrawler), and The Edge (U2).

It’s impossible to escape the rollicking rumble of drumming flowing across the album. But this is no machine drumming. It’s live drumming at its best and it’s presented in a variety of flavors, speeds, and tempos and always with a crackling energy. Hints of the mystical tribal beats of The Creatures and the gloomy glam rock that Love and Rockets developed in the late ’80s can be heard, but the sound is less tropical and decidedly more nervous and aggressive. Some patience is needed on the part of the listener since the songs are long and slowly shift over time, and even from track to track. But Lee and guests are the wild cards that bring a humanistic pop feel to the proceedings, making Los Angeles an adventure worth taking.

Album opener “This Is What It Is (To Be Free)” features Bobby Gillespie and sounds like it could be an outtake from one of The Flaming Lips’ later albums. Built on a simple, almost danceable beat and catchy bass line, the title track features animated singer James Murphy at his finest and is probably the album’s best track. The frenetic pace of “We Got to Move” is the perfect fit for Isaac Brock’s nervous warble, while “Bodies” exudes a bluesy, Nick Cave-like vibe. The Edge lends his chops on the slower-paced and mysterious “Train with No Station” and the slinky “Noche Oscura”.

Los Angeles is a rollercoaster of twisting and churning tempos that frequently plunge headlong into a frothy mix of paranoid drums, bass, keyboards, and guitars with intriguing vocals at every turn. But sometimes it’s dreamier, slower, and more melodic, and it’s always done with a tuneful ear and is highly entertaining. Buckle up and enjoy the ride. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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