Ross La Vel – For the Lady (LP)

Ross La Vel – For the Lady (LP)


In a sensuous arrangement of strings and synthesized melody that is as big as an oceanic tidal wave, Ross La Vel gently guides us into that world of delicately woven harmonies and heartwarming lyrical dexterity that is his new record For the Lady. These opening notes belong the crisp, sleekly appointed ballad “Fly Away With Me” which effectively sets the tone at the start of For the Lady, and it doesn’t take but a few seconds before they’re accompanied by the cutting vocals of La Vel himself. The glassy echo that reverberates between every word La Vel sings beckons us closer into the deepest and darkest caverns of his aesthetical enigma, and before we even have the chance to realize what’s transpiring it’s too late to escape the grasp of his alluring melody.

Piano keys and fragile percussion cascade through the speakers like raindrops falling on a sunny day; their sustaining tone evaporates the second that it hits the ground, but the remnants of its impact remain lingering for hours, sometimes even days after first striking. La Vel is notorious for his unforgiving balladry that evokes as much introspection as it does kinship with the outer world around us, and this is undoubtedly his greatest accomplishment to date. By the time that “Fly Away With Me” finally winds down and gives way to the stunning “Speaking Again,” I was so hypnotized by the ambient drone of the synthetization hovering over the first track that I had to take a brief break before starting the next song.

“Speaking Again” fires us off in a completely different direction than its predecessor does, kicking off with a rollicking beat that unravels into a pub-style folkie dirge that toes the line of jazz, psychedelia and even lo-fi in certain places. There’s no beating around the bush; this is really complicated music that is built on the most calculated of concepts, and it isn’t the kind of material that exists on the same shelf – or even the same conversation – as most of the trite pop singers of 2018 do. Ross La Vel is fiercely indie; his music doesn’t make any apologies for its far reaching eccentricities, and his refusal to compromise is amazingly refreshing in this age of shapeless pop.

For the Lady comes to a close with the classic “Trains,” which brings the wildly diverse narrative of the EP full circle in one of the most stylish songs in all of Ross La Vel’s repertoire. “Trains” sports a gritty, churning mix on this record that make its compressed, rip-roar melody all the more accessible to listeners of every level of music comprehension. Audio snobs in particular will find a lot to study in this track though, as it more or less presents an indie titan’s signature sound in a framework that wouldn’t have been possible as little as ten years ago. In short, For the Lady is a watershed recording for both Ross La Vel and the scene that he has championed through his many years of creative service. It really doesn’t get much better than EPs like this one, folks.


Michael Rand

About Author /

Start typing and press Enter to search