Review: Brooklyn trio Las Rosas makes scorching second album

This cover image released by Greenway Records shows "Shadow By Your Side," by Las Rosas. (Greenway Records via AP)

Las Rosas, "Shadow by Your Side" (Greenway Records)

Brooklyn trio Las Rosas upgrades its lo-fi sounds without sacrificing its considerable charms on "Shadow by Your Side," an excellent second album of compelling tunes.

It's been little over a year since the debut, "Everyone Gets Exactly What They Want," was hailed as a fresh, fun and valuable addition to the garage rock/psych pop cannon. They're even better the second time around, conjuring up a scorching combination of Supergrass, Robyn Hitchcock and The House of Love.

Jose Boyer's dynamic songs and guitar riffs and the potent rhythm section of Christopher Lauderdale (drums) and Jose Aybar (bass) are all accounted for, but the clarity of the recording makes it sound as if a whole house has sprung up around them and they're no longer confined to the garage. The drums benefit most from the enhancement, like someone setting alight a box of firecrackers.

Opener "The Ghost" is the longest (5:34) and one of the best of the bunch, a bit of a mini-opera with distinct sections and a very specific, post-wedding image that's instantly familiar — "the crumbs of autumn leaves in the pockets of your jeans, mixed with lint, and tobacco and rice."

"Tax Man" philosophizes about financial difficulties in the arts — "If you were in my shoes you'd feel the same/or at least you'd be out of those ridiculous sneakers" — while first single "Christa" is wiry and witty: "It's been suggested I'm afraid of bees/But I did a test and they think highly of me."

There are occasions for misery and loneliness, too, like "Dinner for Me" and its album-naming adage that "the secret to a cozy night/is keep your shadow by your side."

Working to deadline, Las Rosas did not wilt under pressure and "Shadow by Your Side" is a crisp bloom all the way through.


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