Listening Booth: Layabout, “Suburban Legend” (2007)

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Layabout – Suburban Legend (2007)
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Layabout - Suburban Legend

Review by Jamie Lyon
Layabout is a Los Angeles-based jazz/pop trio founded by keyboardist and vocalist Edward “Tex” Miller and his partners John Lacques on drums and Jeff Novack on electric and upright bass.

At first blush, you might be tempted to write them off as another Fray or Keane knockoff (although their bio mentions Ben Folds and Steely Dan), but give them a longer listen. Producer Jon Griffin adds some horns, and voila, the real truth comes out! Young Mr. Miller seems to have been raised on a steady diet of Chicago — specifically, the Robert Lamm songbook. This is by no means a slam; it’s actually meant as a big compliment.

This music is smart (although at times the lyrics can be a little silly), challenging, and wonderfully easy to listen to. Try “Arms Around the City” (download) (hear that Fray in there?) and “Again” (download). Layabout are worth a serious listen. —JL