Home Music Music Album Reviews

L.A.B Continue the Sunny Reggae Vibes On ‘L.A.B VI’

L.A.B stick to their winning formula on ‘L.A.B VI’



Before the review, an illuminating statistic: in last year’s Top 20 New Zealand Albums Chart, L.A.B had an impressive four albums in the countdown, despite 2023 being marked by no new album from the all-conquering band

What this statistic says is that any new L.A.B release is big, big news, but it also suggests that the five-piece don’t have to try all that hard to garner success in Aotearoa anymore.

So, on L.A.B VI, it would have been understandable if L.A.B had grown somewhat complacent — even their album titles are stringently formulaic by now — but their sixth album is full of songs of formidable prowess, even if they rarely sway from the band’s winning sonic recipe. 

Sunny reggae and pop rock abounds, as it always does on a L.A.B record, and tracks like “Give Me That Feeling” and their 2022 single, “Take Me Away” (winner of Best Single at the 2023 Panhead Rolling Stone Aotearoa Awards), will surely become festival and wedding circuit favourites by the time next summer rolls around. More downtempo moments elsewhere, particularly the Nineties R&B-indebted “I Believe”, allow for sincere lyrical contemplation, and give lead singer Joel Shadbolt the opportunity to stretch his smooth and soulful vocals to the maximum.

Consistently releasing popular album after popular album is a difficult thing for any band to do, but L.A.B have found a formula that works for them; don’t bet against L.A.B VI being their third consecutive chart-topping album in their home country, as well as their sixth to go platinum. Remarkable longevity, really.

Stream: L.A.B, L.A.B VI

This review features in the March-May 2024 issue of Rolling Stone AU/NZ. If you’re eager to get your hands on it, then now is the time to sign up for a subscription.

Whether you’re a fan of music, you’re a supporter of the local music scene, or you enjoy the thrill of print and long form journalism, then Rolling Stone AU/NZ is exactly what you need. Click the link below for more information regarding a magazine subscription.