A lot has been said about how the ability to download singles — as opposed to having to purchase entire albums — ruins the narrative aspect of a full-length record. Diego Garcia's debut album, Laura, is a great example: Taken individually, each tune is lovely. But if you listen to the songs in sequence back to back, it's even better, like a good book. The sum is greater than the parts.
That's because the Argentine-American singer and his band are pros at using each song to take a snapshot of a poignant moment. The instant you realize a relationship is doomed. The moment before a love affair disintegrates — in which, against all reason, you beg to hold on. That time you were doing something mundane and out of nowhere realized you were no longer hurting.
At the time of the album's release, someone mentioned to me that they found the themes and lyrics of Laura a bit simplistic for their taste. I beg to differ: The most important moments of our lives are often the less spectacular ones. Telling someone "You were never there" is a powerful statement on its own — needs no artifice.
Garcia captures these simple but defining moments with a straightforward narrative that rests on lovely instrumentation. The former vocalist for Elefant clearly understands what it means to make a good record, as opposed to creating an album with a few hits amid barely digestible fluff. Every song on Laura is memorable, which is why we were thrilled to invite Garcia into the NPR Music offices share a few of its songs in our offices.
If you haven't heard his work yet, consider this Tiny Desk Concert a preview — a trailer for Laura. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
- "Nothing To Hide"
- "You Were Never There"
- "Under This Spell"
Filmed and edited by Michael Katzif; audio by Kevin Wait; photo by Dena Trugman/NPR