Release date: October 28, 2008
Looker unveils the irresistible fruits of a year's hard labor. They released 3 infectious two-song singles throughout the past twelve months and collect them all here, along with five more tunes, all produced by Erik Paparazzi and all guaranteed to give you what you need. This is Looker's follow-up to the self-released 2007 debut album Born Too Late.
Looker is a female fronted New York four-piece whose sound fuses girl-group pop sweetness with grit and ambition, resulting in a unique, kinetic rock and roll experience that is bittersweet, melodic and confrontational. Founders Boshra AlSaadi and
Nicole Greco first met in a painting class in Pennsylvania at the age of 15, and quickly bonded over a shared love of playing guitar. Though they lived on opposite sides of the state, they kept in touch via mix tapes and letters and swore that someday they would have a rock and roll band. Fast forward to the Lower East Side in 2003, where the two reconvened to form Looker, completing their current lineup in '06 with the the additions of AJ Lambert on bass and Robbie Overbey on drums. Since then, they've toured top venues from
Stockholm to Toronto playing with bands like the Undertones, the Hold Steady, the Noisettes, Shy Child, and the Homosexuals to name a few.
In January 2007 Looker produced and released their first LP Born Too Late, which was recorded and mixed in just 8 days. Glowing reviews for the unsigned band followed from the likes of Rolling Stone, Steve Lamacq, Vice, V Magazine, About.com,
and TimeOut NY. The band decided to follow the record up with a series
of inspired singles, recorded and released as they were written, in the classic style of pre-album pop. The
first of these singles, “After My Divorce,” captured the attention of Steve Lamacq in
the UK who invited Looker to the legendary Maida Vale for a live session on BBC1.
With Erik Paparazzi (currently playing bass for Cat Power) at the producer’s helm,
Looker has assembled these singles along with some new recordings for their
second LP Born in the Desert.
music video directed by todd albright for flim flam productions
"First Looker were Born Too Late, and now they're Born in the Desert...jeez, you kids, make up your mind already! Looker's second full-length album finds the New York four-piece a year older and sharper than they were on Born Too Late, and while their energetic and insistent pop/rock attack hasn't changed much since the first LP, Born in the Desert does sound noticeably more muscular and confident, with Boshra Al Saadi's vocals showing greater strength and producer Erik Paparozzi giving the group a stronger aural backbone in the studio. Al Saadi and Nicole Greco's sharp, hooky songs recall the glory days of new wave in New York, but without sounding like they're reaching for a retro approach -- these are simply clever and well-crafted tunes played with fire and enthusiasm, while Looker have mastered the increasingly rare art of being clever but not self-conscious. While Looker are most engaging when they turn up the tempos (which is most of the time), the sweet harmonies on the midtempo "Help Me Roada" are thoroughly charming, and "After My Divorce" has an easygoing swing that would have done Blondie proud on their first couple albums. Al Saadi and Greco are a great guitar team, building a solid wall of sound from a welcome variety of tones and attacks, and the rhythm section (A.J. Lambert on bass and Robbie Overbey behind the drums) keeps things moving without clobbering the melodies. Born in the Desert features 11 songs that rock solidly while delivering the kind of hooks and harmonies pop obsessives will swoon over, and it's clear that Looker are a band well worth your time and attention."
-Mark Deming, All Music Guide
"BORN IN THE DESERT has a girl group sweetness to mix melded with some buzzing punk energy. Another winner from Serious Business Records!" Dagger eZine
"'Born In The Desert' (Serious Business) I was not sure if this was just purely great rock n roll or if it sounded like a band on a TV show when a girl on the show joins a band. Then I heard some cowbell and decided it was just purely great rock n roll. Plus some cool old school girl harmony stuff elevates this."
"Childhood friends Boshra AlSaadi and Nicole Greco interlock their buzzing riffs and lilting harmonies with effortlessness, while bassist AJ Lambert and drummer Robbie Overbey hold down the driving rhythms with ease. With their unabashedly poppy, rough-and-tumble gems, they could have made a great split LP with the Phil Spector-era Ramones. Born in the Desert's production comes courtesy of Erik Paparazzi (Cat Power) and trades in the stripped-down production of the previous album for lush and jagged soundscapes. They play infectious short stories wrapped in rock candy. For a taste of the sound, imagine the Buzzcocks sitting in with the Shangri-Las. Then sprinkle a generous handful of Joan Jett grit on top, and you're starting to get there.
The new CD's subject matter is tough, bittersweet and celebratory. Each song is a distinctly strange slice of desire and anxiety, sweetened by punk guitar heroics and an airtight rhythm section that catapults the narrative forward with the brave glee of the first sledder down a freshly snow-covered slope. The Smiths-referencing "After My Divorce" chronicles the glamorous life of a divorcee who moves to New York, sips Campari and assures us to a demanding drum beat that she'd "do it again" if given the chance. The title track, with its proclamation that "I'm the hero of my own life," sounds absolutely huge. The uncommonly evocative "Animal Dreams" manages to be both foreboding and exhilarating. "
"Looker do pull off something that that is extremely hard to do in my book – it’s that classic Blondie/Missing Persons new wave pop sound that sounds easy to do in principle but extremely hard to pull off in the real world of 2008." Not Lame Recordings
"Friday, November 14 Looker - Born in the Desert (Serious Business Records) Boshra AlSaadi and Nicole Greco met teenagers at a painting class they took in Pennsylvania then went back to their respective lives. They kept in touch, though, writing letter and trading mix tapes. Nowadays, they write songs and trade vocals in a band called Looker -- judging from the band's new CD "Born in the Desert," I imagine the mix tapes were pretty cool.
My best guess is that the mix tapes were filled with energetic and melodic punk and new wave from the late '70s and early '80s, because that's what their band produces. It's loud and fast, but with jingles and jangles that bring The Smiths or The Primitives to mind -- crossed with, say, The Undertones, with whom the band has toured -- mixed with some surf styles, '60s girl groups and, strangest of all, maybe some early Heart and a touch of The Sweet.
Listing off the ingredients makes the music sound like a pastiche, but it's not -- the styles cling together tightly and never unravel. The band isn't aping song styles, it's living them, wrapping them around each other and coming up with its own sound rather than settling for the current trend of derivative power punk for teens.
My favorite song? "Master's Gone Away," a song that almost qualifies as a ditty, with it's catchy guitar grind, "Ballroom Blitz" drum refrain and the chorus "Jimmy Crack Corn and I don't care at all," it's irresistible. There's not a losing track on the album though -- and in this current scene of posing emo boys pretending to be some kind of '80s power punks that never really existed, Looker gives me hope that every now and then, my ear will catch the sound of the real deal."
-John E. Mitchell, the North Adams Transcript