The Stan Laurels
There Is No Light Without The Dark (Big Stir Records 2021)
Not to be mistaken for a tribute act to the legendary comedian, The Stan Laurels is a pseudonym for the musical musings of John Lathrop. Based in Austin, Texas, the singer, songwriter and maestro of many instruments recently released his fourth full-length album, There Is No Light Without The Dark, which contains one meticulously-crafted cut after another.
Gifted with a bright and airy voice glittering with melody, John narrates his songs in a warm and intimate manner that is pleasant to the ears and sustenance for the soul.
Each and every number on There Is No Light Without The Dark is truly terrific, marked by an emphasis on shifting rhythms, quirky breaks and invigorating intersections of traditional pop fare and edgy instrumentation.
Threaded with ghostly phasing, On Paper features a foggy psychedelic presence, crowned with obligatory backwards guitar gymnastics, where the spunky and imaginative Red-Handed Puppet entails the scenario of a Muppet becoming President of the United States. Well, anything is possible in these crazy times we are living in!
Serving as an encouragement to stay inspired and keep the creative juices flowing, Tomorrow is torched by a simple plucky beat, then gradually thickens into a mass of explosive electricity before returning to its original format. The sweet and spartan Mateo’s Song is a lovely ode to John’s son, while a couple of very pretty classical pieces are shoehorned into the album.
As far as influences are concerned, it is apparent The Stan Laurels have picked up plenty of pointers from the shoegazing set. Select samplings from the likes of The Beach Boys, The Zombies, The Feelies, Teenage Fan Club and Weezer also materialize here and there on There Is No Light Without The Dark. But John’s style of storytelling, complemented by arty arrangements, sonic experimentation and left-field hooks, produce a sound that is fresh and singular. Crank it up and enjoy!