Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Last People on Earth - Electric Angel

The Last People on Earth
Electric Angel

Released 2008 on Tea House Records
Reviewed by Fatalist, 26/03/2010ce

The Last People on Earth have a public profile that’s inversely proportionate to their obvious skill and accomplishment as a band. It may have something to do with being based in Hull, and I’m not even sure myself how I heard of them, but no matter – ‘Electric Angel’ from 2008 is an absolutely cracking album which really does deserve a wider listenership.

So, what are they like? Well, sonically they’re like prog if you took all the self-indulgence out – which might not sound like much fun, but actually leaves you with a sound that’s inventive and adventurous while also being tight and economical, delivering an 11 track album in under 40 minutes. There’s no grandstanding or unnecessary soloing from any of the players, but it still feels fully evolved and musically expansive.

They describe themselves as The Doors and Colosseum meets Jeff Buckley, which is kind of interesting in itself, and there’s definitely strong elements of the former’s organ-driven rhythmic swing and the latter’s melodic invention. I’d also add Floyd, Pretty Things and ELO into the mix, as well as more modern groups such as Radiohead, Air and the Flaming Lips.

And stand back, because Electric Angel is also a concept album – however, we’re talking SF Sorrow here rather than The Wall. In fact, its picaresque storyline of a young man’s adventures on a far-future earth (where ‘Hope is just a brand of washing powder’) strongly reminds me of the Pretties' masterpiece.

Electric Angel works brilliantly as a seamless whole, but highlights include the brass-enhanced opening fanfare of ‘Birth’, the delicate and melancholic ‘The light in her hair’ – which contains a couple of killer lyrical refrains that had me singing along even on first listen – and final track ‘All things come to an end’, which nicely wraps up some recurring melodic themes and contains the fine couplet, “You think you’re master of the hunt, really you’re a silly cunt.”

The album was recorded on 16 track analogue, which I’m assuming accounts for its warm organic vibe, and the production and arrangements throughout are fantastic. It also makes a big difference that singer and lead Last Person Patrick Tobin has a fine set of pipes on him without ever getting histrionic or overwrought.

So, great album, genuine home-grown talent, now please play some gigs in London! http://www.myspace.com/thelastpeopleonearth

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