Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes – Good Karma
New 12 track album by Los Angeles band Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes, issued on the Big Stir label. This is their follow up to 2019’s debut LP Fight For Now…LTW’s Ian Canty is the least action hero…
Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes, steaming out of LA, impressed me from the off with their spirit of adventure and breadth of vision. Not merely content with mastering one kind of genre per song, this listener truly did not know what was coming next over the course of Good Karma, their second LP and the follow-up to last year’s Fight For Now. Post-punk, hard rock, new wave, jangly indie pop, it all seems to be fair game in their eyes. Could be a mess in the wrong hands, but they manage here mesh it together with such adeptness that most everything fits.
This is one of the great things about them, an unpredictability that adds weight to their already tasty compositions and musical capabilities. Consisting of Leslie herself on guitar and lead vocals, vocalist/percussionist Paula Venise, plus Jeff Page and Rob Lontok as the rhythm section, The Lazy Heroes sow these disparate sounds together into something completely their own.
The album kicks off with the straight-up call to arms of the punchy title track Good Karma. This introduces The Lazy Heroes in the guise of something like an oddball, post punk Runaways. Poppy, catchy and weird in all the right places, with added whistling action too! If I Could, which follows, is more orthodox indie pop, but with a sure touch and shiny guitar jangle. Great passionate singing on this track too.
1950’s rock & roll is right at the heart of In My Back Yard, embellished with the kind of ultra-cool guitar lick Billy Zoom used to apply to X’s best material. Leslie’s voice skips playful on the top of this catchy tune, with the rat-a-tat-tat tight rhythmic base anchoring everything firmly. All of which results in a real shot of excitement and pure joy. Twisting sounds and acapella style vocals introduce Hot Tamale, the voices of the four band members combine really well here on a song devoted to that elusive female object of desire.
On Slip uptight drums, bass and guitar construct a taut atmosphere. The song reflects the tense music – the refrain “I don’t wanna come home to this shit again” pinpoints the hopelessness of relationship horrors that most of us have to face during the course of life. Even so, Leslie & The Lazy Heroes make the dark subject matter easy to digest by making the thing so damn catchy. Chrome has a sort of Pretty Vacant style intro, before developing into something of its own. Leslie’s voice is cool and pure, then explosive where needs be, set against the pure rock ‘n’ roll kick of the tune.
Moving onto the second half of Good Karma, Time To Rock brings forth a powerful jangle and galloping beat, a simple, gleeful message of the wonder of music to just make you feel good. So Hard follows, a “kind of” cover of an It’s Me Margaret song (Leslie, Jeff and Paula were all members of that band). Punky and with lovely fluent verses, it is a tough rocker for the most part, but towards the end surprisingly tender too. It’s the balance that The Lazy Heroes pull off so well. They manage to work a lot into their songs, but they still remain fresh and invigorating, there’s simply little clutter. Life’s many frustrations frame the song Race Car, spoken word vocals spelling out the blankness of an existence with the only avenue of escape a high priced consumer item granting fleeting pleasure. The pressure tells through the verses, resulting in the release of a scream at the very end.
I’m Waiting then rushes in. This one is in a more standard format, but with punch and panache as it builds to a real rock climax with ringing guitar, there’s even a dash of Husker Du’s power fuzz in there somewhere. Then comes the slower Not To Me, which include some fine vocals again. The lyrics put over difficulties of human relationships in an accessible and intelligent way. “Never wanted it to end this way”, a common enough notion granted, but it rings true and works better for the recognition factor. These songs are not highbrow philosophical statements to be debated endlessly by the over-serious, just heartfelt, true facts of how break-ups/love affairs/desires always catch you on the hop. Finally we come to Coraline (Where Are You), an ode to lost love which swims along beautifully, providing a fitting endgame to a LP that is full of joy de vivre despite the knocks the characters in the song take – they just bounce back stronger and in the Lazy Heroes’ case, with better tunes.
Good Karma is clearly an apt title, given the subject matter. It is also satisfying and warm listening, an always involving slice of real life in all its contrary, wearisome and sometimes completely illogical glory. Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes welcome you to their world here, a world where emotions are adeptly expressed, but never at the expense of a rockin’ good time. Leslie has the magic touch of singing that made me instantly believe these are just real feelings being portrayed, bare and panful, not just another love song to fill out the setlist. It’s apparent she’s lived these songs. For their part The Lazy Heroes provide backing which is powerful, but also capable of litheness and dexterity. On Good Karma their strengths come together to produce something addictive, wild and affecting – heroes they certainly are.
Leslie Pereira & The Lazy Heroes are on Facebook here
All words by Ian Canty – see his author profile here