Belfast band’s second album will challenge you from the outset.
Rory McConnell 2011
When LaFaro released their eponymous debut album in 2010, they provided us with effortless pop-rock classics, drawing several comparisons to stadium rock legends from the UK’s most respected critics. But if expectations were for more of the same, pushing this band towards the mainstream, LaFaro were oblivious to such anticipation. Instead, they’ve recorded 18 tracks of messy, spiteful punk, full of in-jokes and staged theatrics to ensure that Easy Meat demolishes any dreams we may have had of seeing the Belfast four-piece compete in arenas around the world. Maintaining integrity is what’s important here, and with this release we are presented with LaFaro on the band’s own terms: monstrous, challenging and brilliant.
Straight from album opener Full Tilt it’s immediately clear what we’re in for with the bluntest and most brutal of riffs testing the listener’s nerve, reminiscent of Ministry at their ugliest. It’s not long before vocalist Johnny Black is reminding us that he is a fine and poetic lyricist, and that with his band behind him he’s going to antagonise and provoke us as much as he can. After the comic relief of Langer we’re into Sucking Diesel, on which we hear LaFaro wrestle with any remaining stadium desires before realising that their heart lies in the dark recesses of the workmen’s clubs. Influences are probably most apparent on Wingers and Chips, with the punk ideals of Therapy? and passion of early Nirvana evident. Have a Word With Yourself takes a different turn, drawing parallels with Queens of the Stone Age, while Settle Petal is the closest this collection comes to the pop-savvy style of its predecessor. And on we go, along a road of crashing drums battling against guitars so fulfilling and punishing they could cause small earthquakes. Effortless harmonies break into focus, before the album finally finishes with the darkly acoustic Maudlin.
Easy Meat is a great record weakened by its misdirection, and it’s possibly too soon for a band at this point in its career to release their anti-establishment punk statement. However, whether we enjoy it or not is apparently of little concern to a band as uncompromising as LaFaro, who are wantonly ignorant to how it’s perceived. This is an album that will challenge you from the outset, but ultimately reward your loyalty once you make it to the end.