Summer Mix Tape: Andrew James O’Brien and the Searchers

July 15, 2011

Picking up the pace for the fifth track on the Summer Mix Tape, Andrew James O’Brien and The Searchers have been building a following across the province, and for good reason.  The band’s fun rocking sound make them a comfortable fit on any playlist.

Hailing from Newfoundland’s east coast, Andrew O’Brien made the move west in 2003 to attend Grenfell Campus.  It was in Corner Brook that O’Brien found a niche, working with other local musicians, writing tunes and playing the bar scene.  By the time his studies were done, O’Brien had developed a folk-rock style that fit well with fellow singer/songwriters in the city like Sherman Downey and Kevin Hamilton.  It was with Hamilton that West Moon was born, with the duo recording an album and playing across Atlantic Canada.  With these successes both as a solo acoustic artist and as a member of a group, O’Brien more recently has expanded his sonic palette, trading an acoustic guitar for an electric, and enlisting the help of a few friends and fellow musicians, The Searchers.  This new band, made up of Gerald Coleman, Allan Brake, and Catherine, Mark and Jon Allan, worked to put a new spin on some of those folk tunes O’Brien had been performing as a solo artist, and began writing some new ones in the process.  The group’s first album together, Songs for Searchers, was released in May to considerable buzz and critical acclaim.

The second-to-last track from Songs for Searchers, called La La La, carries an infectious melody and an energetic power that bury the song deep in your mind.  The song opens at full blast, with trumpets blaring and a hard driving groove, easing in to O’Brien’s retrospective and reflective lyrics.  The chorus with its spirited chant of “La La La” is supported by dense guitars and never seems to slow down, building in intensity through the verses in to a shout section with more soaring trumpet and dynamic drums.  This rocking rush drops off just at its peak, and ends with an powerful acapella chorus from O’Brien.  La La La‘s catchy hooks stick in your mind and make it another great addition to the Summer Mix Tape.  The energy and emotion the song carries is something that is only intensified in a live setting, so check out a live version of the song from the band’s CD release in Corner Brook this past May.

Drop in again next Friday for another track on the Summer Mix Tape!

Photo and Video by Tom Cochrane