Album cover for Doors of Perception by La Vivas

Well thought out album monikers that contain a number of meanings and multiple levels of interpretation always intrigue. Names that hint, seduce, arouse curiosity and infer the musical content will be just as explorative and experimental…

Resultantly, “Doors of Perception” by La Vivas is a revolving door of inspirations, ideas and well-executed motivations: under the influence of a desire to produce salutary music.

The opening track, “the Bell and the Butterfly” has all the swagger of a petulant Yr.9 pupil on the way to the headmaster’s office for the third time this month. The urgency with which Donaldson sings the opening song, Gallagher-esque, kicks open the doors of the album with true conviction.

Doors of Perception by La Vivas

By contrast “Doors of Perception” is a gentler proposition. The acoustic sound is measured and the warm electric guitar notes are applied sparingly. The title comes from Aldous Huxley’s tome of the same name which explores the use of mescaline and the conflict between heaven and hell…“where the angels all take flight.” The album clearly takes inspiration from a number of cultural touchstones.

 “Box of Rain” sees the La Vivas leaning out of a Dutch-door, in a reflective mood. The vocals are reminiscent of Power’s Cast and tinged with a 60s Californian hue (sic). Uplifting and feel-good is the only way to describe this nugget of musical folk-art.

You are not quite prepared for the ominous, fuzzy blues of “Waiting for Your Love”. The visceral guitar tears across the canvas like unrequited love rips across your soul. The lyrics articulate the sense of loss: “It is making me crazy, I am going out of my mind.” Donaldson’s voice is beseeching and imploring, reflecting the one way love affair.

Increasingly, the awareness of mental health is paramount. “Paranoid AF” is a foot-stomping “Music Hall” ditty about the end of a relationship – “I don’t know if you love me and these days I don’t think I even care.” – the staccato rhythm hints at the internal struggle for me. There is something quintessentially English about this song, sat as it is, at the nexus, between Slade and later Small Faces.

The bass line at the start of “Rhododendron” is as soulful as the Stax tracks we were fascinated with growing up. A truly genuine love song containing the life-affirming line: “Candy floss kisses that taste like morning.” “Rhododendron,” is a mazy love poem that Dodgy would be proud to have in their oeuvre. Indeed, “My piece of heaven…”

The hell-bound “Need for Speed” is a head-down, nostalgia fuelled homage to Oasis. This 2.45 minute track must kick-start the front-line of any La Vivas gig. The nasal intonation of the vocals adds a beautiful sneering quality.

“Wake Me Up” is a Weller-esque anthem that fittingly ends this mature and convincing album. The guitar licks don’t quite howl but the electric guitar finger work is as prominent as any 90s Brit-pop classic.

Brothers James Donaldson, Kevin Donaldson and the drummer Luiz Ferreira can be proud of their musical achievements. Hopefully, promoters, even more peer-recognition and kudos will come knocking on their door as a result of writing such an accomplished album. As for the Y9 pupil sent to knock on the headteacher’s door, I hope the pupil was expelled for a month, giving the student the opportunity to pick up the guitar! As we need bands like La Vivas. Well, that’s my perception anyway…and I haven’t taken anything.

By: Swilgate Scuttler

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