The temptation with the Lassie Foundation is to get caught up with the pedigree of the band and neglect the music itself. So, yes, the principle players here were previously involved with The Prayer Chain and The Violet Burning, and there are guest spots from Duraluxe, Bon Voyage, and however many hundreds of bands it is Frank Lenz has played for now. But the Foundation exists (or existed — they’re not remarkably clear on that point) as an entity entirely it’s own and should be treated as such. And with the Foundation, it’s all about the pop… pure shimmering pop music, anchored by sweet, sweet melodies and Wayne Everett’s often impossibly high falsetto.
There’s a fighting chance that the El Dorado LP will be the band’s final release. There are rumours that Everett is working up solo material, and co-founder Eric Campuzano is working away with his Charity Empressa project. If that’s the case, they’ve saved their best for last. The tones here are crisp and clear, the hooks are pure, and somewhere along the way, someone had the brilliant idea of adding a full-time vibraphone player to the lineup.
The arrangements are unashamedly ornate with the core group of musicians frequently augmented with organ, Rhodes, and horn sections. The Beach Boys fixation is still present, but the band seems to have transcended it here, finding a take on classic pop music all their own. It’s not rocket science, it’s not going to change the world, but as music-as-pleasant-diversions go, El Dorado is a damn good one.
Written by Chris Brown.