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A review of...
Last by Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love
Final album from the under-appreciated British duo
Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love. It's a band name that's just destined for stadium glory, it's a band name that sounds like an Akron/Family song, and who better to sign an act with such commercial viability than Audi Antihero, self professed "specialists in commercial suicide". It should also be noted that Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love have split up, before their latest album has even been released. And what a devastating blow that is to anyone new to the band (like me) because there is so much potential here.
Once a six-piece, Low Low Low have been whittled down to just 2 core members for this final fling, with brothers Kelly and Ellis Dyson doing most of the writing and recording by themselves. Right from track one ("Goodbyes"), which starts with the most satisfying bit of feedback ever put to record and morphs into an Elliot Smith style heartbreak ballad, there's a sense that this album is going to be quite an emotional sucker-punch. The album flows beautifully from thereon in, sweeping through nicely judged noise, country music, joyous anthems and lo-fi self reflection.
The term lo-fi is bandied about quite a lot these days, but the fact that some of these songs were recorded on C90 tape mean that Last is just about as lo-fi as it gets. The buzz is so great on some of these songs that you wonder if your headphones have packed in (see "Bedroom Window"), but fear not, it's supposed to sound like that. And, for the record, it isn't as annoying as it sounds. It's not annoying at all in fact. "Guard" makes relatively subtle use of this technique, with a heavily distorted percussion line coming in towards the end of the track, pushing what was a delicate ballad into static drenched oblivion. Then there are the song structures where each single track often seems like a classical composition, comprising multiple mini-movements. It's amazing really that they've managed to achieve this whilst never allowing a song to spill over the five minute mark.
This is a funeral album that feels like a real celebration. Whatever the future brings for these musicians, they've left the Low Low Low La La La Love Love Love legacy in mighty fine shape. Last is an absolute triumph.
This is one of the few albums where I've genuinely struggled to pick out highlights, there are just too many, but here goes...
"Burrow" - for every bit of darkness that Last throws at you, there are equally life affirming moments, and this is the best of the lost. Although the lyrics are a little unnerving, this is an instantly hummable three minutes that sounds like the most perfect C-86 single.
"What You Wanted Most" - if you can accept the line "Don’t hold her so close, you’ll squeeze out her ghost", then this is one of Last's most refreshing interludes. The words are book-ended by a couple of riffs where crunching guitars are complimented by precise harmonics to form one of the album's more dulcet moments.
"The Field" - takes the band into Sweetheart of the Rodeo territory and it's one of the few tracks where a positive message marries a positive tune. It's moments like this that make Last such a startling and agreeable listen.