BY THE TIME I get ahold of Allah-Las, they're finishing up breakfast in Mississippi, and are about to head to Nashville on the US leg of the tour for their recent surf-savvy release, Worship the Sun. The four-piece just spent nearly two months playing their way through Europe, and most of them have been friends since high school. "It's interesting being on tour with everyone and remembering their idiosyncrasies. It's like having four wives or something," says lead vocalist Miles Michaud.
The band worked closely together on the new record, each of them taking a hand in mixing the final songs, which, unlike their 2012 self-titled debut, were fleshed out in the recording process. "This record was a little bit different than the first because we experimented in the studio rather than figuring out the songs through performing live," says drummer Matthew Correia. The record's chiming 12-string guitars and vocal harmonies certainly reflect a history of sandy, deep-rooted California rock—unsurprising from a band that hails from LA and was raised on the beachy bands of the West Coast.
Their easygoing music envisions LA as a mecca for fame and fortune, while recognizing the often frustrated yearning that lurks in their city's creative underbelly. Guitarist Pedrum Siadatian says, "I think [Worship the Sun] reflects a melancholy LA. There's an overall seediness to it, an element of people coming there to realize dreams and hopes, and many of them being unfulfilled. There's a sadness in that."
This underlying tension is what distinguishes the Allah-Las' brand of California folk- and surf-rock from the countless other bands that croon like the Byrds—their music is born from the 1960s garage and psychedelic era, but doesn't rely on its throwback familiarity. Michaud sums up the process of finding the sound of their second record: "There's the question of whether or not we want to make it the same or different—we went with our instincts to make a record that we would personally want to hear, and I think that it's worked."
Worship the Sun's warm vibes are hard to resist: They point in the direction of the beach while quietly warning of the undertow.