Tuesday, November 29, 2011

It's Up To Last Man Standing

With a name like Last Man Standing, you'd probably expect this British band to be some sort of metal, post-hardcore, or punk rock band. But, guess what folks, they are anything but those, in fact Last Man Standing is more like a musical theater stage group than anything that's heavy or aggressive. As if to prove the point, their album, False Starts and Broken Promises is a dramatic rock and roll record that wouldn't seem out of place next to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Sounding something like a more theatrical David Bowie meeting a Broadway bound Nick Cave in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Last Man Standing create melodramatic tunes that really sound more at home on stage than anywhere else. With quirky songs, nearly vaudevillian arrangements and jazzy vibes, Last Man Standing are clearly performing artists with a bit of rock and roll in their hearts. The problem is that False Starts and Broken Promises at times almost seems a bit to postured and staged for it's own good. While it's imaginative and reminds me of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at times, it just all seems a bit too fake for it's own good. It's hard to describe, but much of False Starts and Broken Promises doesn't seem like rock and roll as it does some sort of crazy dream or a soundtrack to some musical.

Although, Last Man Standing have a star studded cast helping prop them up including Robyn Hitchcock and even Judy Collins (!!), they just seem a bit too odd for their own good. In the end what ends up happening is that the bands strangeness makes False Starts and Broken Promises sound like a production without a story and as a result much of the record is just plain boring. I tried to enjoy this for what it was, but my imagination couldn't help but to try and place these songs in some sort of thematic order with the band members rotating through the songs as cast members. Unfortunately, False Starts and Broken Promises didn't quite work out the way it should and I had a hard time latching on to it.

If you enjoy dramatic pop music that's reminiscent of show tunes than False Starts and Broken Promises will be deeply thrilling, if however, you avoid musicals like the plague this will just see a bit too off-kilter and out of place for it's own good. Sorry guys.

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