Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Last Battle - Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea

The Last Battle - Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea (**)
album review for the skinny

For a band of six, Edinburgh’s The Last Battle sport a frail, minimal sound on debut album Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea, based almost entirely on singer Scott Longmuir’s acoustic guitar. Tasteful cello flourishes and wispy female backing vocals don’t do much to fill out the palette, so The Last Battle ensure there’s some variation by, for example, splitting the short record with a monologue from a deep-voiced bandmate, and introducing a shuffling squeezebox to Cutlass.

Despite the stylistic difference, it’s that monologue, Photographic Memory, which encapsulates the album’s main problems: it’s sorely earnest and full of lyrical clichés. Heart of the Land's relentless sincerity becomes difficult to stomach if you’re not in a teary mood, and lines like "I'd like to sail away with you forever in a heartbeat" would surely earn derision were they to come from a soppy pop star, however melodiously they're delivered.

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