La Bella Charade – All Friends, No Fans
Record Label: None
Release Date: January 11, 2011
Could La Bella Charade be a next huge pop-rock band? In a word, perhaps. With their debut record, All Friends, No Fans being produced by Bryan Beeler (Cinematic Sunrise, Chiodos), the freshman attempt is definitely full of promise. From Patrick Hooper’s soaring vocal delivery to the musicianship of guitarists Ian O’Leary and Matt Hallermann and drummer Johnny Mathieson, the sound works. Still, the sound can become hackneyed at times, but the tracks are catchy and full of soaring hooks. Likewise, while the lyrics may not be the best ever written, the words are presented in a fashion that makes this impediment nearly unobtrusive at points, a benefit in itself for these guys.
The opening “When, Not If” reminisces Hit The Lights’ hit “Tell Me Where You Are” structurally – not a bad thing by any means. Similarly, the following “Can You Hear Me” opens with soaring guitars before Hooper’s unique vocals carry the track, begging the listener to sing along to his calls of “can you hear me?” The optimistic “Sweating To The 80’s” exemplifies the skill of the young guitarists, while the following “I’m The Choir, Quit Preaching To It” may be one of the best band performances and most addictive hits on All Friends, No Fans.
The one thing hard to miss from La Bella Charade is the spot on musicianship expelled on this debut. The guitars and drums complement Hooper’s singing splendidly, prevalent throughout the massive “In It To Win It,” the heavier “Heavier Hearts Start Fights,” and the poppy “Count Me Down!” Rather than relying solely on palm mutes and power chords, LBC convey their musical skill throughout the record, a nice breath of fresh air. Conversely, each track packs its own addictive punch, as “Fade In To Fade Out” becomes impossible to stop singing throughout the day, proving to be one of the best numbers on the record.
With the closing “End Of Story” clocking in at just over the 13 minute mark, this finale is the sole epitome of the record. Embodying the feel of each track into one final extensive endeavor, La Bella Charade end All Friends on an impressive note. From the well-placed guitar solo exit to the comedic, lighthearted outro, LBC end the record on a different note – although the ending conversation does drag on after awhile. Nonetheless, All Friends, No Fans proves to be a paradox in itself, for the outcome will undoubtedly result in a myriad of fans for the young St. Louis band.