LA6The Go-Go’s. Blondie. Pretenders. The Bangles.

Belinda, Deborah, Chrissie and Vicki paved a permanent path for all future female lead singers. They were a force to be reckoned with. They created music how they wanted and left their mark. Their sound is timeless. You still hear hints of “We Got the Beat”, “One Way or Another”, “I’ll Stand By You” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” in today’s Indie/Alternative Punk Rock scene. There is not a 30-something female who doesn’t know every word to the ballads “Angel in the Morning” or “Eternal Flame”. If “Vacation” or “Call Me” comes on the radio on our drives to work, you know that we are totally jammin’ out behind the wheel thinking of the good ol’ days.

At first listen, Louise Aubrie seemed to be a product of the childhood I grew up with. I wanted to like this album. The music was simple and fun. It reminded me of the days of going to local punk shows in the basement of the VFW in town. I instantly thought of a time when bills didn’t matter and the only worry I had was how I was getting to the mall to buy the new No Doubt cassette that just came out.

“From the first note, I’m six years old again and my older female cousins are dancing to the sound of punk guitar pop and Belinda Carlisle.” James reminisced as we began to listen to “Masterstroke”, the first song on the album.

But then we started to really hear her voice. We looked at each other with a mutual sadness and we knew that this review just took a u-turn. See, what the female leaders of the 80’s had that Louise does not is the fact that they can sing; and by sing, I mean beautifully belted out lyrics that hit your heart strings and leave goose bumps all over. Their songs become a part of you because the just have that talent and power. This is where Louise falls short.

“Close your eyes. Give me your hand darlin’. Do you feel my heart beating? Do you understand?” …if you are continuing to sing this song, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

It’s not that her voice is terrible. There are some really pretty moments throughout the album. But it’s weak and nasally at times. I can see what she is trying to do with her sound but when you keep it simple like she does, you better have the vocal chords to back it up. Louise does not.

Louise Aubrie LATE 44 Cover ArtHer latest album, Late 44, is a time machine. It is simple and streamlined in its sound. The guitar work is effective in its classic three chords style. That is not a knock on the players. Less is more. Tight and toe tapping, the beats moves you. This is punk pop with the old bubble gum burst of a summer in 1984.

With that being said, it feels stuck in the past. Many artists are able to produce an album with an obvious 80’s influence and carve a home for it in the modern music scene. This album feels like it fell out of the tape deck of someone’s boom box. It’s the part of the show where you can run to the beer line or bathroom and know you won’t miss anything.

It’s sad. She is a fantastic lyricist. The music is memorable. I even have a favorite song on the album. “Perfect Battle Cry.” It’s catchy. It’s the best her voice sounds on the entire album. But, it makes you feel as though she is covering a Blondie song which is probably why I enjoy it so much.

Overall, I have heard worse. But for the purpose of this review, I have to be honest and say that this album is “almost” good. I listened to it 3 times to try and see if it grew on me. Louise Aubrie has the look, the writing talent and the perfect band to back her up. But, to be brutally honest, she should not be the lead singer.

 

 

 

Update: As I was posting this review, I hopped onto YouTube to try and find a video of the song that I really liked from this album. As I went through her videos, I stumbled upon this song called “Always Love” from her previous album Fingers Crossed. When she keeps her range in the lower octaves, she sounds great. I am going to venture through some of her older music because even though I am not impressed with Late 44, I still really want to be a fan.

 

Extended Plays is an ongoing music series written by myself and my partner James. We listen to music, go with our gut and spill our honest and sometimes brutal opinion all over this blog. We hope you take the time to check out the artists we review for yourselves. We tend to believe that we are always right about everything but the most beautiful thing about music is that our opinion doesn’t matter to anyone but ourselves.

 

 

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