Einstein had his Theory of Relativity. Abraham Maslow, the notion that some human urges take precedence over others. And The Little Ones? Well, they’ve got Uncle Lee’s Rule Of Feet. “We’d been in bands before and questioned why were were doing it” shrugs shaggy-haired singer Ed Reyes. “We realised that if a song made us move our feet -literally- then it was good. Girl groups, Motown, great pop – the one thing they have in common is that they make you want to dance.”
If only it was always this simple. But then The Little Ones (Ed Reyes - guitar/vocals, Ian Moreno - guitar, Lee LaDouceur - keyboards, Brian Reyes - bass, Greg Meyer - drums) inspire such eureka moments.
Not for them a rigor-mortis inducing list of ‘cool’ bands to intimidate us with. Instead, shout-outs to: ‘Tiki-shacks, lobster, thought bubbles, winks, laughter, games of laser tag, burritos, chocolate and smiles”. In their ideal world chimpanzee’s run their merch stall and all gigs end with impromptu house parties (soundtrack: Abba, Fleetwood Mac, The Kinks). The name? Inspired by Ed’s two pug dogs, universally refered to as ‘the little ones’. You get the picture.
“I guess you could say we’re done with angst” says Ian of this surrealist smorgasbord. “In Ed and I’s last group (West Coast power-poppers Sunday’s Best) there was a tendency to dwell on the down-side rather than the great things about being in a band.”
Rewind. Ed and Ian met whilst dj-ing at Loyola Marymount University’s KXLU radio station. Ian played indie-pop; Ed played classical. The decision to create a classic pop group was a simple one. Recruiting keyboardist Lee and drummer Greg through the usual tangle of friends and aquiantances, the final piece in the jigsaw arrived in the shape of bassist Brian (brother of Ed). By August 20th 2005 The Little Ones were playing their first gig at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles. “We still play a couple of the song we played that night” offers Ian. “We’re close friends and I think that immediately rubs off on the crowd. They know they’re in safe hands. And having a good time is contagious!”
Clued-up enough to recognise that recording was the next step, they entered the studio with L.A neighbour and ex-Mighty Lemon Drop David Newton. The result? The Sing Song ep. A joyous amalgam of wire-thin guitars, handclaps and Motown rhythms, songs like ‘Face The Facts’ and the sublime ‘High On A Hill’ transcended genre and geography, combining the rhythmic zip of Os Mutantes, the exuberance of The Go! Team, and the cosmic wonder of the Flaming Lips. Crucially, The Sing Song EP also reached the ears of the bookers at New York’s Mercury Lounge.
“It was bizarre” laughs Ed. “Lots of labels were at the gig. Suddenly we were being taken to dinner and being offered deals by people we really admired.” Sensibly opting for life with Astralworks in the States and Heavenly in the U.K, the band were given the simple instruction: “keep on doing what you’re doing.” “It was the best thing anyone could have said to us” acknowledges Ed. “We just went straight back into the studio and continued to record.”
Tours with the likes of French Kicks have sharpened both their taut guitar-pop and unpretentious worldview to a razors edge. But underestimate The Little Ones at your peril. Listen a little closer to songs like ‘Heavy Hearts Brigade’, and a darker subtext emerges. “Growing up in California give you this natural affinity for warm, summery pop” explains Ed. “But we’re also aware that Los Angeles has a corrupting influence. There’s a sense of isolation here. ‘Heavy Hearts Brigade’ is about being an outsider in the midst of it all. For us, rejecting the rat race is just as noble as embracing it”
The Little Ones know great pop should make your heart sing and set your mind buzzing. But don’t forget Uncle Lee’s Rule Of Feet. If they can get you dancing, it’ll be a start.
Live On Stage:
These guys seem like a lot of fun, check out their synth-pop infused cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "Cecelia"....
Let's go with a two-fer since there are no full shows for download. Here they with one of their own songs "Cha Cha Cha" from last November.....
Only have one video for you, here's "Oh MJ!"....
For more on The Little Ones head on over their official website.
Saturday, May 12, 2007