Released : 1990
What defines a “cult” album? is it that the artist responsible never saw fame or recognition whilst alive (i.e. Nick Drake), maybe it’s mechanics were notably ahead of their time (Slint’s Spiderland) or even that the performers choose to deliberately cloak themselves in a self perpetuated mythology like Boards of Canada.
The La’s is arguably the cult British album of the 90’s, yet of course it isn’t; the eternal half life of it’s hit single There She Goes – which depending on who you speak to either is or isn’t about heroin – means that it’s still found regularly on daytime radio, where for instance The High’s Box Set Go or No.1 Dominator by fellow Liverpudlians Top are not.
So much ink has been spilled about it’s making – the roundabout of producers and musicians, front man Lee Mavers intransigence, the eventual release of what he saw as an unfinished against product against his wishes – it’s hard to listen without the baggage drowning things out. But whereas There She Goes is a songwriter in the mode of Sgt.Pepper, Feelin’ comes from The Star-Club, gritty, amphetamine R&B, something more primal amongst the screams. Cult albums are there to be dissected, but Mavers’ steadfast belief that The La’s remains a deadlocked work in progress heightens the sense of futility in doing so, a perfect view of imperfection, like working on the Mona Lisa a little bit more until she smiles.