The new Pennsylvania-based rock duo Laurel Canyon, made up of singers/guitarist Nicholas Gillespie and Serg Cereja, have unveiled their first single, ‘Two Times Emptiness’.
Lo-fi distortion on their acoustic guitars and a rollicking stroll for a backbeat make for a fairly simple foundation for a rock song, and there’s not much here to help the group transcend. The lyrics, somewhat disappointingly, are dime a dozen girl-crazy observations. Taking the form of a conversation, the band cheekily interject spoken-word asides to keep the narrative going. These casual elements and the “tell me more” backing vocals ripped straight out of the Grease soundtrack are great and give the impression that this band has a sense of humour, but the unremarkable plod of the instrumental backing track never gives them the proper setting to explore that goofiness. I want to hear more of that light-hearted fun, but the band insist on returning to the cliches that can be heard from any coffeehouse duo working anywhere in the world.
I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on Laurel Canyon. They obviously have an appreciation for ear worms and a keen ear for pop melodies, but ‘Two Times Emptiness’ just doesn’t connect as a debut single. Your first impression should be something unique and aggressively ear catching. It’s actually better to have something godawful and garish, because at least you went big and missed. You’re better served being horribly misguided than being stuck in the middle of the road. There’s nothing worse than starting off with a massive shrug, and unfortunately that’s what you get on ‘Two Times Emptiness’.
But don’t take my word for it, check out ‘Two Times Emptiness’ down below and form your own opinion. I’ll be listening in for the band’s second single, if only to see if they have any interest in distinguishing themselves from literally any other indie rock band.