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The LA Els

The La Els

by Roger Young / 19.05.2011

The La El’s debut five track EP of disco retro rock comes in at about four and a half tracks too long. It’s a random collection of “retro” sonic concepts and words in search of actual songs. The La Els won the Global Moguls band search competition and this EP is presumably the result. It’s telling that the competition was centred not just on the music but, in a large part, on how the bands marketed themselves as The La Els comes across as a brand rather than a band.

It starts off strong with “Dirty Disco”‘s driving rock beat and updated funk sequencing but the time the chorus kicks in, it’s clear that that’s all there is to the track. It lacks hooks; vocal or otherwise and seems to be more a mish mash of sounds that The Els thought would come off as cool than an actual song. Jonas Barausse’s vocoda-edged voice shouting repetitive lyrics, pulsing sounds via the late eighties, plucky guitar and tricksy cutesy electronic bleeping of the sort that makes jocks do the John Travolta. Also using the word “boogie”? That’s so retro. Yawn. “Soul Killer” is a collection of different sounds. More rocky, more guitar, less sequencing, still no actual song. Some falsetto-ing of the song title seems to be an attempt at a hook; again the kind of cheap move that gets the granddad dancing at a wedding.

The LA Els, Retro Disco Rock

The third track is “I’m Not Trying”. At least they admit it. It’s a return to the sound of the first track. Random squelchy sounds try to hide the fact that Barausse is merely shouting words he found on the box of a Jim Morrison action figure. A chorus is abandoned in favour of a guitar assault-lite.

Fire is the closest to an actual song. With the same sorts of sounds as the previous track but with a late house music beat and much more Barausse shouting. By this stage it’s clear that he’s the weak link in the band, but that’s not to say the rest of the band is actually any good. It sounds like someone shouting rejected Bruce Springsteen lyrics over a discarded outtake from Flashdance.

Track Five: “Love Slave”. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear.

“Romancer”. Is the sixth track. I didn’t listen to it.

It’s an over-energized empty collection of ineptly borrowed ideas badly put together by Truworths indie musicians who clearly have never heard of anything else other than 4/4 time. All in all it sounds like a rushed effort from a band of competition winners who bought the company line and thought style would triumph over substance. At least I’m hoping that’s the case because if this EP is a considered move, well, see my comments on track five.

The LA Els

19   10
  1. Luke says:

    Hahaha fuck, I’m not a fan but damn that is harsh. Well don on saying it like you see it I guess?

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  2. EGOR says:

    the band photographer/stylist/designer needs to be shot. not that dressing kak is a problem (its a band not a fashion show). but the fact that the kakness is so orchestrated/matching is the problem here. Neon accents? Vom.

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  3. creepy steve says:

    is the insect with eye rays in the band, cause i’d totally fuck him…fuckin eye rays man so hot right now

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  4. Neon says:

    Nice write-up. This music is a dustbin full of cunts.

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  5. Vom-Vom Fataar says:

    Wow, rad review! I wish I could written a better one. These blokes are rad guys. but then again that’s the same line people use to describe the Parlotones. “Awesome guys, but I can’t stand their music…” and that’s not going to get you anywhere in the music industry. Way to go La Els, rather than flying the Durban flag high, they chose to roll it and smoke it… and then write some songs.

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  6. Prick to Prick says:

    Cold…so god damn cold. Ever heard of Euphemism. I’m sure you would prefer homies calling you a big boned, junk in the trunk, horizontally tall, sonically challenged walrus of man – over – a fat as fuck wannabe Lester “I’m-so-underground-post-punk-whatever-you-can’t-put me-in- a-box (and not because I’m so big headed)-I hang-on-the-otherside-so-cool-in-another-way-it-hurts” Bangs unqualified overly opinionated sloppy cunt – or the likes there of.

    The band may be kak. But. Hey. Cut a brother a break. How can they improve? What are the positives? Where should they shop…the salvation army like you? Should they stop visiting Vida and banging hot models and rather drink Steers coffee and hunt the little blue whales dressed in black lurking in the dark corners. What is the secret to making music to rock out too? What do you…the grand electronic opinion of the South African blog scene…suggest?

    I personally feel, not ever hearing the band, that they should call on the spirit of Blue Oyster Cult and add some more cow bell.

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  7. Roald says:

    Wow, i mean, I don’t dig the music because it’s not my vibe but I don’t believe it’s bad music. I agree with the comment about the neon accents though. Not rad. The article itself feels like an attack on the band members especially the lead singer and I think the venom with which it was written kinda makes it lose any credibility.
    Ps. Was it metaphor/adjective day today? Wish i’d got the memo.

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  8. You're Gay says:

    I applaud the venom.

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  9. I'm just going to say it Sam says:

    Jesus Christ Roger, even for an untalented fat cunt like you this is nothing short of vomit through a loud speaker. Its like someone gave a guy with Tourettes syndrome a megaphone and said “Go Wild”. Its cool, hate on a band, hate the members, Barausse could be a twat. But PLEASE, write something that doesn’t make it sound like you’re getting paid money to air your laundry. He must have really done something super kak to you hey? Haha…Awe I kinda hope he did. Maybe your editor can help you distinguish between reviewing something and venting a personal grudge under an unashamedly thin veil of ‘journalism’ . When people ask what you do for a living, do you still tell people you’re a writer?

    God thats classic.

    And for those of you wondering, yes, I defiantly think Rogers a talentless douche.

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  10. Prick to Prick says:

    Maybe the band tag teamed his women?

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  11. snarky for the sake of being snarky says:

    roger gets ‘women’, plural?!?!?!?!

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  12. Roger Young says:

    @Prick to Prick and IJGTSIS

    I prefer to be called a fat cunt. At least I then know the truth.

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  13. Fred Durst says:

    Ahh, Durban, you sad, sad town.

    It’s interesting that you fuckers come on here to defend your friends by personally attacking the writer and accussing him of personal attacks on the band. Re read the review, it’s harsh but all the comment is about the music, nothing else.


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  14. James Klopper says:

    Leave Roger alone you little pussies. He doesn’t come around knocking McDonald’s burgers off your spatula while you’re hard at work earning a living, so save the hating for your alone time with the mirror.

    I haven’t heard the music. Roger clearly doesn’t like it (and the man has taste, after all). So what.

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  15. I'm just going to say it Sam says:

    Love how people are making it like Captain Piss on the fire is being unduly attacked here. You guys defend America too hey? “What! All Roger does is constantly spit venom at people, bands and events…what gives you the right to tune him?…bastards”

    Fuck off

    I could give a toss about the band, im just sick of the constant flurry of shit that a talentless wanabee like Rogers gets to throw in the faces of people who have the balls to step out there and try. Maybe not succeed, im guessing most times bomb all together, but at least fucking give it a go and not hide behind a fucking laptop writing about shit he has only ever seen others do.

    Roger pick up a fucking instrument, step onto a fucking stage and do SOMETHING…anything that takes more talent than having a big fucking mouth and Microsoft word.

    Professional fucking bystanders


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  16. Fred Durst says:

    ^^^^^^^ This Guy = Hilarious

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  17. Stan the man says:

    Ja, mmm. Bullshit!

    I’ve read other ‘reviews’ of yours and they’re all full of negative bullshit. I agree with Prick to prick, name the positives, if there aren’t any for you, name how they could improve. Maybe there are people out there who dig the genre? Name some positives for those people. Don’t be so narrow minded.

    But hey – It’s your opinion – and I think it’s a shit one.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Maybe you should tell La Els to pick up a pencil and learn how to write, then they can do their own press.

    Why is it that a writer isn’t allowed to just be a writer anymore anyway? Now he has to go join a band too?

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  19. I'm just going to say it Sam says:

    Jesus fucking Christ can we stop referring to him as a writer. Its an insult. Read his reviews Mr Anonymous and find the common thread that unites them. And if it doesn’t instantly slap you in the face then you my friend are retarded. Jokes aside, go do it, i’ll wait here patiently for your response. Come back and say, hey, Sam you douche, you got it all wrong, i checked it and Rogers a really solid writer who fairly reviews people and doesn’t use negativity to conceal his inadequacies as a listener and writer to keep his job. Go on. Look im sure you’ll turn up something positive eventually if you sift through the bullshit long enough. My dog shat out a gold ring once. I didn’t follow him around thinking it would happen again though.

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  20. Delicious Monster says:

    Easy on the blasphemy Mr Righteous. Ignorance abounds.

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  21. Lizzy says:

    he he its great that Roger is back on form. how did he survive without all the love? please can someone also tell me why some people say ‘Awe’ when they mean ‘aaw’ it means something completely different, dont you realise?

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  22. Roger Young says:


    The purpose of the critic is to describe the shit he is wading through (and the occasional gold ring that he finds) not to school the shit what it could do to not be shit; I’m not here to describe some future fantasy land, I’m here to tell you, in my opinion, the present state of the shit I’m wading through.

    As to my perceived negativity, well… It should go without saying but at any given point in any culture in any creative medium the output will always percentage-wise lean toward the average and the rubbish. I try to not write about too much rubbish; generally I try balance it equally: for every two this is good and this is average there is going to be one Holy fuck balls this is shit.

    And guess what? Holy Fuck Balls, The La Els are shit.

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  23. Al Anon says:

    Really Sam, your band fucking sucks. Rogers a cunt sure but he’s only fat cos everytime he fucks your mom she bakes him a cake!

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  24. Andy says:

    Roger saves a special kind of extra-hate for Durban bands that fall short. He’s much kinder to the Cape Town hipster indie fags…

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  25. anonymous bob says:

    i really dont like the la els. i think its a bit lame that the only reson these guys make music is because they wanted to win a competion and gain success. thats really not what music is about and besides, their music is shit. just another case of ooh-im-so-fucking-hip-because-i-wear-neon-shoe-laces-and-a-bob-dylan-shirt-even-though-iv-never-even-heard-subteranean-homesick-blues type of ous making shitty pop to be cool. its not about that. i dont even know what the point of music is to be honest, and you know maybe their doesnt even have to be a point but what these guys are doing is not right.

    and yeah ok il admit roger can be a bit of a dick when it comes to reviewing bands, but hey atleast hes honest. and i bet that if he wrote a review praising the band the same assholes who chuned him would do exactly the same.

    now shut up and put some against me! on or something

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  26. Peanut says:

    Hey THE LA ELS, You sure seem to have made an IMPACT! Negative or postiive this is the world of show-bus! All good…..

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  27. Rafen says:

    Mediocrity shouldn’t be celebrated, it should be slapped so that it can go back to the drawing board. The La Els should see this review from the left hand side of opinion, and seriously knuckle down and hone their craft further – if you can call it craft. If they value themselves as musicians they should get better or continue to play gigs part-time. It was probably a rushed production, considering the recording was a prize from the competition – therefore hardly a debut. Hopefully the next record will make some semblance towards music.

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  28. Matt says:

    The “author” of this piece was 100% on the money. Not a hook to be found… ANYWHERE. His review focused primarily on the songs and their lyrical content, or lack there of. Don’t defend the shit people. Go and read SPIN, NME, Q Magazine or Rolling Stone. See how piss-poor bands get reviewed, slated and dragged through the mud, if they don’t produce. That includes the popular indie bands that were, an album or two before, heralded as the next big [in] thing. There is a standard and if we’re to reach it someday, and regard ourselves as a truly artistic and musical international player, then this kind of critique is 110% necessary. Well done Roger. A good… No GREAT piece. And good luck to The La Els. Keep going.

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  29. Smurac says:

    I’ve just read the review and the comments with great enjoyment. I thought the review was good. Funny, harsh ja, but also pretty accurate. I haven’t heard the EP but saw the band live and was struck by two things – one, they’re tight, and two, they’re short of hooks. Interesting that out of all the comments, nobody has defened the music itself

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  30. Melissa says:

    I’ve wanted to write insults on The La Els facebook page ever since one of their band members suggested I become a fan and I listened to their excruciatingly awful bleepy neon crap.

    What astounds me is that they can listen to their shit on playback and say “Boom! That sounds KILLA!” and then actually release it for the world to hear.

    Their music video made me cringe with delight! So did this article 🙂

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  31. Anonymous says:


    Wow. If you’re going to write about music, at least know what a vocoder is.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Also, you didn’t listen to the sixth track? For fuck’s sake, if you’re going to REVIEW a fucking album, listen to the whole fucking thing. If you’re writing for Mahala, you obviously don’t have a full-time job, so put some fucking effort into the damn review.

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  33. Mike says:

    Some people are far to passionate about this. It’s just another mediocre review of an average band. Their music is not going to change the world, and i’m not going to change the station when it plays on the radio. What more do we expect from a new band and their first album? Get a life douchebags!!!

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  34. Eff says:

    Roger be honest, Its not that you cant stand LA Els, you cant stand Barusse.

    I dont blame you, the guys a fucking trendy turtle.

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  35. Eff says:


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  36. Anonymous says:


    “Maybe your editor can help you distinguish between reviewing something and venting a personal grudge under an unashamedly thin veil of ‘journalism’.”

    Seriously, does this review really read like it’s been edited to you?

    Sure the band’s pretty average – not too bad; not startling – but Roger Younge, dude, please at the very least do a quick proof read before you post your shit on the internet. Pithy statements and concordant paragraphs aren’t mutually exclusive.

    I suppose you’re a product of your environment though; I gotta say, the site in general is pretty poor really. Its no use getting so worked up over some crappy youth-culture blog parading as journalism.

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  37. Matt says:

    Ok I’m not a fan of the band, but they are still very new maybe the hype hasn’t done them justice because every band should cut their teeth before they get vast recognition or get booked for big festivals or events based on the fact they won a comp on the net, the net isn’t live it has nothing to do with what a band is actually like. Come now let’s give them a chance to grow and see what happens. Either way, Roger is entilted to his opinion, some of this did make me chuckle a bit.

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  38. Roger Young says:


    Example? I love a nit-pick.

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  39. Meh says:

    I’d probably say he’s right with the interview but is too much of a poes about it. I don’t enjoy the band either and I think they’re following a trend and not actually passionate about the music. I just hope ”review” hasn’t been mistaken as ”be overly critical” becuase I haven’t ever read a positive comment in any of these reviews, even though most of the comments are true. Only 4/4 time signature is boring. Trendy little gimmicks are over used and unbelievably lame but maybe a little word of encouragement would be rad, I agree their music isn’t good but I don’t think they’re terrible musicians like you suggested. Another unneccisary little stab. If you have a band that changes up time signature, doesn’t carry a stereotype and actually lives for their music I hope you’d be positive about it at least. The South African music scene isn’t too strong and shooting down people who try doesn’t help it at all. Durban is not a city full of cunts, just by the way. Most of us just believe in giving a band a chance and encouraging people to make music

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  40. Soap Box says:

    Does all music need “hooks” to be good? In an ideal world we would praise music that differs itself from the mass systems of popular music. What I found most objectionable about this review was that it complained bitterly when they did things by the formula (4/4 beat etc) and then moaned when they broke away from it. Seems like the reviewer just has no idea what he’s talking about.

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  41. Anonymous says:

    Nothing wrong with having a band brand.

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  42. citybonermizers says:

    hail satan.

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  44. […] without someone getting touched and throwing shade. I guess that comes with writing some of the most scathing reviews this side of the Tropic of Capricorn. The tide of public opinion is shifting though. No longer […]

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  45. […] without someone getting touched and throwing shade. I guess that comes with writing some of the most scathing reviews this side of the Tropic of Capricorn. The tide of public opinion is shifting though. No longer […]

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