Larska – Can’t Steal It (Dom Omladine Kragujevac)
Review by Milos Sebalj
It is quite hard writing a review for a Metal magazine when you have a band without a guitar player. Well, we’re not counting bass as a guitar, are we? Either way, the album I’m presenting here might just be the most difficult task I’ve had as a reviewer yet. Luckily, it turned out as a very pleasant album, as much as this kind of music can be pleasant.
Larska is a young Serbian trio from Kragujevac, which is debuting with “Can’t Steal It”. Even if the band is just 4 years old, it has a very rich biography, as participants (or downright winners) of various demo band competitions or as a live act across Serbia. Furthermore, their name is a word play on scalar quantity in physics. Now, my school teachers will tell you I’m not even close to an expert in the department of physics. Fortunately, Larska explains in their biography that a scalar quantity is determined by its intensity alone, without a distinct direction. If you’re looking for a further explanation, consult your physics notebooks, as I have no further comments on the subject. But the name fits like a glove to this band!
Larska is defined by intensity. The brute volume of sound waves emanating from this disc is amazing! Sledgehammer-like pounding in your ears is not easy to ignore. As for the genre (direction) in question it is one very long story. Basically, I’m dealing with Stoner, but that is far from the entire description of what is presented here. One can easily find associations with the glory days of Grunge, reminiscent of Pearl Jam, for best example. Sluggish aura surrounding the album can easily be related to Kyuss and the likes from the south of USA. Early Doom Metal traces are expected and they are found in abundance. Subtle Dub, or even Reggae traces are present here and there. Post Hardcore too. The list might go even further, but I’m going to leave it to your own interpretation. Larska has managed to mix a whole lot of influences into the music which captures the listener by surprise and hardly lets him go. The colorful, psychedelic atmosphere which shrouds this release absolutely mesmerizes. Autumn clouds are all I see out the window and it is magnified through the speakers as I write this. While sweaty, lazy summers are often attributed to music like this, I find it too gloomy for a sunny day in the fields.
Now, I wrote in the beginning these guys do not use a regular electric guitar. Trust me, it is hardly noticeable, as they are using their two bass guitars to their full potential. Down tuned and distorted, Larska boys even manage to squeeze a couple of solos out of the instrument not often used to such purposes. I’m guessing their pedal boards are getting used and abused to limits and it sounds brilliant. What’s more, Larska is able to create engaging riffs which easily stick to the memory and arrange their songs to a slow movement of a river, seemingly endless but with a clear end in sight. Given their age, they are showing a lot of creative power and imagination.
Concluding the album are two bonus tracks from their early recordings which do not differ much from the rest of the record which shows these guys had a distinct vision of how they want to sound from day one and it all exploded with the remaining eight tracks on the CD. “Can’t Steal It” was released by their hometown based youth center which is a rare occasion, not just in Serbia, of a youth center actively supporting the youth in their ever-growing aspirations. As this is a case of a band from without the big city centers, they could certainly use all the support they can get. Especially considering the fact that they have proven on these 55 minutes that they are able of producing something worthy of further acknowledgement. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the front cover. Believe it or not, it is a photo of a real plasticine art, created by Luka who is also responsible for one of the bass guitars, vocals, music and lyrics. Diverse, you must admit.