The Last Of The Troubadours second EP shows a band growing in confidence and ambition with song-writing Alongside the usual Guitar/Bass/Drum set up- we also have some Violin on the intro to ‘Tonight’, some lovely tinkly piano bits through ‘One To Blame’ and even a lo-fi drum machine intro to ‘Shame On You’.
And you’ve got Buzzcocks Axe-man Steve Diggle supplying a multi-layered guitar solo on ‘never Forgive You’ and even chirps in with some backing vocals on ‘One To Blame’. The inclusion of Diggle shows how far this band has come, and how respected they are in certain circles. Indeed, their live shows have been growing in popularity, even selling out and the reviews of their performances shower them in praise. Praise which has led them to be added to the Isle Of Wight Festival line-up, they play Sunday 16th June. The only crime is- I haven’t managed to get to one of their shows, yet.
With five solid compositions, all competing for title of ‘Lead Track’, what we have here is a classic EP in the old style- an extended player, not a single with a few extra b-sides- clocking in at just shy of 19 mins, it is basically half an album.
This is an unmistakably British sound- with solid woody bass throughout and crisp snappy drum work, there is a groove to the tracks which makes them instantly likeable and recognisable. Another parallel with Buzzcocks is, such is the strength of the songs- you feel like they’re already old favourites. Indeed on first listen, various parts formed that days ‘Ear Worm’- these tracks stay with you.
Darron’s distinctive vocal style and Joel’s ‘gruffer’ approach work very well together. There aren’t many unique sounding vocalists out there at the moment (non-auto tuned, I mean) and Darron’s might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but they certainly stand out. And I like them.
I hear influences from very different bands than the usual Mod/Gallagher stable that Darron’s art usually gets bundled in to- he and fellow songwriter Joel obviously have a vast pool of music that they listen to and get inspiration from.
This is my opinion only, but what I hear on the Ep is this:-
‘Tonight’, well, actually sounds like a Last Of The Troubadours track (although the strings at the beginning could be a nod towards Scott Walker?)
‘Never Forgive You’ reminds me of the Northern Soul stomp of ‘Black and White Town’ by Doves,
‘Don’t Stand On Shadows’, Coral-esque (carnage on the dancefloor!),
‘Shame On You’, that intro and guitar sound immediately put Pulp in my head, and
‘One To Blame’ is later Mescaleros-era Joe Strummer.
Not a bad little group to rub shoulders with, I’d say.