In Rock, Veritas
La Rocca took its name from a bar in Bristol, England, but its music is not a booze-soaked affair like The Pogues, having more in common with fellow Dubliners U2. Originally from Ireland and England (singer-guitarist Bjorn Baillie, his brother bassist-singer Simon Baillie, keyboardist-guitarist-singer Nick Haworth and drummer Alan Redmond), the band transplanted to Los Angeles to record its debut album, The Truth, one of the best pop-rock albums of 2006.The Truth starts with a bang on â€šÃ„ÃºSketches (Twenty Something Life),â€šÃ„Ã¹ a song filled with bouncy, melodic keyboards reminiscent of Game Theoryâ€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºSleeping Through Heaven.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Bjorn chronicles a young manâ€šÃ„Ã´s exploits which are reduced to entries in a diary rather than etched in memory (â€šÃ„ÃºAll I haveâ€šÃ„Ã´s this journal that I write / Sketches of a twenty-something lifeâ€šÃ„Ã¹); juxtaposed with the anthemic nature of the music, the effect is somehow uplifting rather than depressing. â€šÃ„ÃºIf You Need The Morningâ€šÃ„Ã¹ features fuzzy keyboards, crashing cymbals and lovely harmonies, with Bjornâ€šÃ„Ã´s slightly weathered vocals adding depth to the songâ€šÃ„Ã´s theme of inner romantic turmoil. In the same vein, â€šÃ„ÃºSome You Give Awayâ€šÃ„Ã¹ presents a beautifully plaintive tale of loss where even minor hopes are cast aside: â€šÃ„ÃºMaybe weâ€šÃ„Ã´ll pass through L.A. again; older and better with all the charm of friends / Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s unlikely if the truth be told / Some you lose and some you give away.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Other highlights include the galloping â€šÃ„ÃºSing Song Sung,â€šÃ„Ã¹ the catchy-as-hell â€šÃ„ÃºCatsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºEyes While Open,â€šÃ„Ã¹ and the Mick Jaggerish swagger of â€šÃ„ÃºThis Life.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The album ends not with a whimper, but a moment of quiet reflection in the slow-tempo embrace of â€šÃ„ÃºCapitol Pill.â€šÃ„Ã¹
La Roccaâ€šÃ„Ã´s solid pop instincts are buoyed by pure musicianship and anchored by expert rock; the catchy songs with their sing-a-long choruses and musical hooks make The Truth more than memorable. Judging from the sweep and occasional sheer poetry of La Roccaâ€šÃ„Ã´s music, the band should be playing arenas before long.