Musings on ‘Goodbye’ – A review of The Last Cry’s new album. (release date September 2016)
For over a year now, fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of The Last Cry’s third album (since they re-formed in 2007). The follow-up to ‘Walking to The Edge’ and ‘Living in Grey’. The album has been somewhat ambiguously named ‘Goodbye’, a title unsettling in its finality. That said, the band refuse to be drawn on whether ‘Goodbye’ actually means “Goodbye” so, to quote one of the album tracks ‘This Future Has No Face.’ For now, at least.
A trio since 2007, Andrew Birch, Chris Carey and Tim Green have been rejoined for the writing and recording of the third album by original member and co-founder, Mark Birch. Mark’s contribution has added a depth to many songs on the album which has enriched the existing sound of The Last Cry and can only be seen as a plus. Listen out for those extra guitar lines for proof!
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the album at Sacrosanct Festival (Official release is September on the Near Dark Over Europe tour.) So I was eager to get home and listen to it. Having had it on a continuous loop since Sunday, I decided to write down my thoughts on each track and the album as a whole.
‘Goodbye’ opens with ‘The night that I saw you’. A powerful song that’s classic Last Cry and one that’s already been well-received at live gigs. A driving bass rhythm carries it along, with lots of big guitar sounds overlaid by Andrew Birch’s characteristically strong vocals. The song has a catchy singalong chorus that’s great to belt out at gigs…. or wherever takes your fancy!
This Future Has No Face: This song has a bit of a ‘shoe-gazey’ feel thanks to its acoustic guitar line and melodic Cure-esque keyboards which lead into another strong hooky chorus, a TLC speciality. The song has an easy, laid-back feel which progresses nicely into a choppy guitar bridge and some wistful vocals from Andrew before plunging back into that chorus you can’t help but join in with. A real feel-good song and a favourite of mine.
Life of Lies: This has always been (for me) one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. But somehow, with a few well-placed tweaks, the band have managed to take it to a whole new level on the album. The addition of extra guitar, backing vocals and other touches have added a depth of emotion that doesn’t just tug your heartstrings, but grabs the whole organ and squeezes it. (In a good way, of course!) Tim Green’s rending guitar solo, which usually manages to undo me at gigs, combined with Andy’s heartfelt lyrics are enough to leave me an emotional mess. Every. Single. Time.
So it’s just as well that the next song is a complete change of pace. Shine Out, one of the stand-out tracks on the album got me off the couch and dancing around the living room despite my aching, post-Sacrosanct feet. This is a real cracker of a song and is set to be a massive live favourite. Layered guitars and a pulsing bass line give the song a power-packed, punchy feel. Definitely a song that will ‘Shine Out’ for sure!
Simon’s Song: A song born out of loss and grief, this is one of the most beautiful and emotionally-charged songs on the album. Haunting melodies and heartfelt lyrics come together to make it a fitting tribute to a dear departed friend. While it will always be ‘Simon’s Song’, it’s a song for anyone who has ever loved and lost somebody close, capturing the feelings of pain and sadness while finding the strength to carry on in memory of that absent friend.
Destroy: A powerful wall of big guitars and a steady bass create a bleak, almost apocalyptic soundscape that mirrors the subject matter of the lyrics. Birch rages at mankind’s destruction of the planet in the name of greed (“Can’t you see past the dollar signs?”). This is TLC in eco-warrior mode. The steady pace of the song puts one in mind of the inexorable march of progress as the human race plods doggedly towards its doom. Despite its bleakness, it’s a great song, which strangely, puts me in mind of U2’s ‘Bullet The Blue Sky’.
Forever Numb: “There is a light…” begins Andrew, and suddenly I sit up, wondering what the hell Dave Gahan is doing singing on a Last Cry song. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard the similarity between both singers but this time it was almost spooky! Atmospheric keyboards, subtle bassline, overlaid with melodic guitars and measured vocals combine to make this song a real feast for the ears that call out to your soul. What can you do but respond? Beautiful!
Truth and Lies: This is a song with its boots firmly planted in its punk roots, mad as hell and determined not to take any more. The melody (for want of a better word) hurtles along at breakneck speed while Birch rails against the evils of modern society and the helplessness of being “stuck in a life I can’t control”, something I think we can all relate to – the battle to keep one’s integrity in a world of ‘Truth and Lies’. This is classic protest punk – Last Cry style!
Perfumed Despair: The song opens with sweeping, layered guitars before giving way to Andrew’s lyrics, which speak of loss and addiction. It’s a song of regret and a battle to understand “When I was here, why did you let go?” For all its dark subject matter, the song is deceptively upbeat and fast-paced with tight rhythms, something the Last Cry have always excelled at. One thing they don’t do is melancholy. There’s too much of that about.
Goodbye: I never thought I’d write the words ‘ethereal’ and ‘The Last Cry’ in the same sentence but today it’s happened! The dreamlike quality of the guitars and keyboards underpinned by a slightly sinister-sounding bassline give the song an ethereal feel with Andrew sounding uncharacteristically subdued and almost shy until the chorus kicks in. ‘Goodbye’ is seductive in its quietly melodic beauty with The Last Cry showing a softer, more atmospheric side. The chorus is a real earworm which remains with you long after the last notes have died away. But at least it’s one you’re glad to have remain.
Overall, ‘Goodbye’ is everything I’d hoped for and more. Ten beautifully crafted songs, some of which we have heard, some brand new, all combining to make this third album a worthy successor to the first two. Deep emotions run through each and every song and you can tell that all four members of the band have poured blood, sweat and tears into the making of this album. This is the work of four accomplished musicians with 30 years of experience at their backs and you can hear and feel that experience in every note and yet they continue to be as fresh and innovative as any group of 20-something hopefuls. Andy, Mark, Tim, Chris…. Congratulations on a job well done. It’s an album to be well proud of and as a fan, I thank you. It was well worth waiting for.
‘Goodbye’ by The Last Cry is now available to purchase on cd/download from Bandcamp.