Somewhere along the way, life stopped being about embracing the simple things without judgment. Pop songs used to be built on melody and choruses; did the song make you want to dance or sing along? Yes? Well, that was enough. Now, it’s more about how many strings and horns you can shoe horn into the final mix, ensuring the final recipe is complex as humanly possible.
Thankfully, Stella Ella Ola, are trying to put the fun back in music. Jake and Nick from Hollerado teamed up with Anne Douris and Vince Rice, and the new four-piece plays ear-pleasing, garage pop nuggets that stick in your brain. They aren’t reinventing the wheel, and the world is a better place as a result.
The band’s name is borrowed from a childhood clapping game, and while there is nothing childish or immature about the lo-fi sound, the quartet takes us back to a time where loving something wholeheartedly was not only accepted, it was encouraged.
These four songs are raw, immediate and sung happily without pretension. Stella Ella Ola doesn’t have thirteen people on stage and a tickle trunk of unnecessary noise makers in their arsenal and the stark treatment is why these songs are so addictive. Often these type of collaborations are over-thought and overproduced. With help from producer Graham Wright, Stella Ella Ola recorded these live off the floor and the end result captures the spontaneity and life of the songs without leaving the recording sloppy or unfinished.
At less than ten-minutes, the self-titled EP is almost gone before it starts but every song is a winner. “Little Black Rope” uses sing/spoke verses to build to a harmony heavy chorus and even tosses in a flaming guitar solo. Anne takes the lead on (complete with a Naedoo approved title) “Peter Sellers”, and her vocals warm the heart of this Muffs fan. The friendly jangle of “New Year Song” is simple bliss and the “Proud Mother Stomp” dirties up the familiar stomp The Fab Four perfected, but instead of paisley and psychedelics, the band shows up for dinner without a collar and a five o’clock shadow (and does a nice job of hiding a biting message in a seemingly silly song).
There’s just enough rough edge on these songs to cut through the sugar, but Stella Ella Ola want you to get uncross your arms and start dancing. They do more with less – both in elements and length – and the fresh recordings might just be the thing you need to get your weekend started.