Friday, July 4, 2008
CD Review: Last November - Over The Top Or Under The Weather
Last November - Over The Top Or Under The Weather
2007, Southern Tracks Records
Occasionally you'll come across a rock band that has a knack for smart, incisive lyrics, or a great sense of melody, or wonderful hooks, or a smooth sound. It’s much more unusual to find a band that displays all of these qualities on a consistent basis. Be that as it may, on Over The Top Or Under The Weather, Last November show themselves to be one of the rare bands that have it all.
I spent a couple of days trying to figure out who lead vocalist Luke Pilgrim reminds me of, and I am still at a loss, but there is a definite familiarity to his distinctive voice. One of the things about Last November that surprises is the chameleon-like way they adapt to different styles/sounds throughout Over The Top Or Under The Weather. Last November is equally comfortable in a pop-ballad as they are in a driving alt-rock tune, and comports the sort of energy on CD that must only explode to greater heights in the live environment.
Highlights include Sunday Afternoon, which has Top-40 single written all over it (There's a violin singing my name somewhere / And I hear a piano that's slightly out of tune / Oh and I swear ... I can smell apple pie / Oh it must be a Sunday Afternoon). Jesus Had Breakfast In Bed is the most aggressive rocker on the album, with big crunchy guitars and riffs so hot they'll melt your speakers. Oh, and in the middle of the chorus you'll hear some of the most perfect harmonies you've ever heard in a rock song. This is far and away my favorite on the album.
New York Rain comes back to the pop realm, and sounds like something you might have heard on early-80's AM/FM pop stations. Other highlights include Hot And Cold, Merry Christmas Little Match Girl and I'm Not A Doctor But I Play One On TV.
Last November has the near-perfect mix of rock music with pop sensibilities, and just a little bit of punk cred. It's always hard to tell how tastes will run from minute to minute in the music business, and commercial radio isn't exactly invested in finding new artists when they can play the same 11 songs every hour, but hear me on this. Last November could be HUGE. Over The Top Or Under The Weather might be the best pure pop/rock album of the year thus far.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Last November at www.lastnovember.com, where you can purchase a copy of Over The Top Or Under The Weather.